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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Mother and daughter talk about what it is like to make love , something that the daughter will never experience . The son rides his bike through the rubble of the town carrying messages . The daughter continues her piano lessons .
Two films , released within weeks of one another in 1988 , looked closely at the obstacles that society places between a woman's maintaining of her own existential identity and her commitment to being a mother . In The Good Mother ...
J. C. first has to learn to be a mother , then fight her patronizing male bosses because she is being a mother , then rebuild an old farmhouse in order to continue being a mother . But more interesting than anything else in the film is ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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