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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... problems of the Vietnam veteran in postwar American society . They defined his sense of rejection , his invisibility ... problems of Vietnam veter- ans trying to cope with life in a society that for a decade had denied their existence ...
... problems of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD ) and the often attendant " survivor guilt syndrome . " Third ... problem , heavily exploited by the American media , of the time - bomb potential for street and domestic violence by ...
... problems of reassimilation into American society . Each is different in its approach to the trauma of the " coming home " situation . As Pauline Kael writes , Birdy is " all meta- phor " ( New Yorker , 11 February 1985 ) . If Birdy is ...
The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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