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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Platoon is a divided movie in terms of story and intention much as was Coppola's Apocalypse Now . David Halberstam writes of Apocalypse Now ( Washington Post , 8 March 1987 ) that it “ was two films , an occasionally brilliant Vietnam ...
Latin America , The Official Story ( 1985 ) presents yet another extremely eloquent perspective . Akin to both Missing and Kiss of the Spider Woman in its primary text of the political awakening to the excess of death squad terrorism of ...
a Marie ( 1985 ) is the story of Marie Ragghianti . In 1976 she was appointed to head the Tennessee Board of Pardons and Paroles . While working at that job , she discovered that an old - boy network of state officials was actually ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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