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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The grunt in Hamburger Hill , therefore , is caught between two types of nothingness and can only choose action , going up that hill one more time — some choice ! Hamburger Hill is different from Platoon and Full Metal Jacket in that it ...
But the documentarylike quality of Hamburger Hill is not the only way that it differs from the other films of this year . Each of these films is different in setting , which affects their textuality . The grunts in Platoon are ...
For the dying soldiers in Hamburger Hill , the villains of the piece are not the enemy in their bunkers at the top of the hill raining down death , but the American society that has hung them out here by themselves to die .
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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