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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Simultaneously , however , these films lobbied for the nuclear disarmament that would become a major political issue of the decade . Nineteen eighty - four was the Year of the Family Farm in film history .
We are the Kabuki Theater , " Sergeant Major Goody Nelson ( James Earl Jones ) laughs . But even as these career soldiers mock the military ritual charade that they take part in every day , they realize that their job is a bizarre cover ...
BOYLE : You were the ones who trained Major Max in the Police Academy in Washington . You were the ones who trained Jose Madrano and Rene Chacon . You taught them how to torture and how to kill , and then you sent them here .
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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