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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... human . What keeps the focused emotional realism of Testament from becoming sentimental , however , is the film's ... humanity . Testament begins ironically as if it were another Steven Spielberg paeon to suburbia . The first sound is an ...
... human endurance . Knowing that her efforts can never work , Carol Wetherly tries to make life go on as usual for her family . It is clear to everyone involved , including the theater audience , that her efforts are a futile illusion ...
... human beings vaporized to their skeletons . When the montage mercifully stops , nothing is left but a smoking wasteland . The green prewar Kansas world has turned com- pletely gray . The success of The Day After lies in the eloquent ...
The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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