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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Hollywood and the rest of America adjusted rather quickly to this rhetorical shift , so that by the end of the decade American culture was expressing a strong fascination for things Russian . The two most popular novels of the summer of ...
Red Dawn , because it never humanizes the Russians , can only exist as an overt exercise in ideological propaganda . ... Rambo III ( 1988 ) presented the same images of the barbarian Russian hordes and the genocidal Nazi - like tactics ...
The Falcon and the Snowman juxtaposes the illusion of the openess of American life and the idealization of American morality to the businesslike professionalism of Russian bureaucracy and finds both wanting . It captures the suspicion ...
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