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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Hartman makes them give their rifles girls names , marries them to their rifles , makes them sleep with their rifles . Marching them in the barracks in their BVDs , Hartman makes them put one hand on their genitals while the other ...
The problem with trying to give the Vietnam War meaning is that there is no meaning to America's presence in Vietnam . Some can find meaning in staying alive , but others like Armstrong realize that there is no possibility of meaning ...
I was supposed to give up everything so that you can live in Disneyland ? The irony of this prison house of society in Russia lies in the KGB's elaborate attempts to cover up the closed society realities .
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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