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 repeats Barnes's act of killing Elias . He becomes Barnes even as he kills Barnes . He refuses to accept any meaning in either Elias or Barnes . He kills meaning , opts for nothing . Why does Chris Taylor kill Sergeant Barnes ?
kill her . In both cases , previously innocent young men , Gomer Pyle and Joker , must become killers because of their ... Gomer Pyle , as he sits in the stark white latrine loading his rifle and waiting for Hartman , then kills Hartmen ...
Kill two birds with one stone . It's got nice logic to it . Trouble is , both birds are me . ” In this speech , Cameron has the movie and the war all mixmastered together into a frantic metaphor that finally arrives at the one ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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