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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The film extends this metaphor of the Vietnam vet as stunt man for America . In the metaphor , the vet did the dirty work that others did not want to do . The risks involved in their stunts constantly escalated .
Like Under the Volcano , Alex Cox's Walker ( 1988 ) is a film about an earlier time , Nicaragua in 1855 , that serves as a metaphor for the 1980s . Cox's metaphor is about terrorist tactics , not in the hands of a ruling government but ...
They serve as a forties metaphor for the working women of the eighties . In fact , these forties wives , pressed into service in defense plants while their husbands are off fighting World War II , are an apposite historical paradigm for ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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