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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He sits Morgan and Hyde down and talks straight about the origins and political motives of support for death squad government terrorism . This speech confronts the rhetoric of confusion with a passionate directness that is equivalent in ...
As Valentin attempts to justify his life and political involvement to Molina , the necessity of resistance to this death squad terrorism becomes the theme . He tells of his elegant bourgeoise lover , Marta ( Sonia Braga ) , to whom he ...
Death squad governments are black widows who solicit love via the promulgation of death . Under the Volcano , John Huston's screen adaptation of Malcolm Lowry's 1946 novel , while not as immediate or contemporary or polemic as these ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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