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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directly upon this “ tyranny of the powerful over the powerless ” on the American family farm . The films Places in the Heart , Country , and The River , all released between September and December 1984 , dealt with the threat to the ...
Of the three farm crisis films of 1984 , Places in the Heart is the least polemic , the most metaphoric , and the furthest removed from the realities of the eighties farm crisis . Set in the thirties in rural Texas , Places in the Heart ...
Though perhaps one of the most short - lived sociohistorical issues in eighties film history , lasting for only five months in 1984 , the farm crisis films made two lasting impressions upon American social consciousness .
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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