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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Films in the seventies and eighties often portray the events of history as swirling around characters , burying characters in complexities , utterly confusing characters , often leaving characters suspended in a nihilistic void in which ...
for Joker and a minor character named Cowboy , the characters are new and as disposable as the characters in the Parris Island half of the film . Yet despite this vast difference in setting and characters between the two halves ...
much larger international political theater , characters in search of authors who can release them from their revenge tragedy in the " theater of the real , ” who can write them out of the ongoing terrorist script of the eighties .
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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