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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There is the moral confusion embodied in the morality play characters of Sergeants Elias and Barnes who are meant to represent the ambiguities of Good and Evil to Chris Taylor's Everyman . Because this morality play story is so ...
All through part one , the “ naming of parts , ” and part two , the “ morality play , ” a subtext of class confusion ... just as the stereotyped character oppositions and the conventional moral oppositions ( outlaw vs. missionary ) do .
Doing things Alex Cutter's way is doing things right , pursuing a moral conviction all the way ( as America did not do in ... happened because no one wanted to take on any responsibility : ALEX : Don't give me any lectures on morality .
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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