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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... decades bear the burdens of quite similar social histories as well . Both had the previous decade's war to remember and get over . Except for brush - fire wars of short duration , compared with World War II and Vietnam , both decades ...
... decade of the eighties often seemed under the influence of a " Sequel - Librium ” that tranquilized it out of most of its impulses toward risk taking , innovation , and imagination . James Woods , one of the untranquilized film actors ...
... decade . Nineteen eighty - four was the Year of the Family Farm in film history . While thousands of real families were fighting to save real family farms , films like Places in the Heart , Country , and The River dramatized their ...
The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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