The Films of the Eighties: A Social History
Southern Illinois University Press, 1993 - 335 pages
In this remarkable sequel to his Films of the Seventies: A Social History, William J. Palmer examines more than three hundred films as texts that represent, revise, parody, comment upon, and generate discussion about major events, issues, and social trends of the eighties.
Palmer defines the dialectic between film art and social history, taking as his theoretical model the "holograph of history" that originated from the New Historicist theories of Hayden White and Dominick LaCapra. Combining the interests and methodologies of social history and film criticism, Palmer contends that film is a socially conscious interpreter and commentator upon the issues of contemporary social history. In the eighties, such issues included the war in Vietnam, the preservation of the American farm, terrorism, nuclear holocaust, changes in Soviet-American relations, neoconservative feminism, and yuppies.
Among the films Palmer examines are Platoon, The Killing Fields, The River, Out of Africa, Little Drummer Girl, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Silkwood, The Day After, Red Dawn, Moscow on the Hudson, Troop Beverly Hills, and Fatal Attraction. Utilizing the principles of New Historicism, Palmer demonstrates that film can analyze and critique history as well as present it.
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As helicopters pour fire down into the streets of the city , tourists in cocktail dresses and tuxedos watch the fighting from the balcony of a fancy hotel . Finally , the film focuses upon a single symbolic place , the National Stadium ...
In order to establish their territories in American cities such as Miami , those drug cartels employ street warfare . In order to form their cartels on an international scale , they consolidate their interests by terrorist violence ...
Yuppie Angst The major eighties document , in both its novel and film forms , of yuppie angst was Jay McInerney's 1984 best seller and film adaptation Bright Lights , Big City ( 1988 ) . Early in the film , Alex Hardy ( Jason Robards ) ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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