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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While the concept of the seventies in that earlier study encompassed approximately seventeen years , the eighties really do begin in 1980 with the ascendance of the Reagan administration and continue of a piece throughout that decade .
The answer lies in Reagan's departures from the liberalism that got America into Vietnam ( read Democrat administration ) plus Reagan administration support for " cowboying ” in international affairs as best represented by Oliver North ...
That symbolic gesture of conciliation near the end of Reagan's almost decade - long tenure in the American presidency ... however , a far cry from the Reagan rhetoric of Russian - American relations of the earlier years of the decade .
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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