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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Hub Smith's recognition of “ the illusion of safety ” in Rollover is exactly the fragile existence that terrorism exploits . Terrorist acts generate a paranoia that isolates and imprisons the targets of terrorist intimidation .
terrorist act , the first rhetorical position taken is the claiming of responsibility . ... With these rhetorical motives in mind , terrorism serves three basic tropes effectively designed to capture the attention of three target ...
The films of the eighties have consistently focused on this new villain , the terrorist . ... What too few of these films acknowledge , however , is the success that terrorism as a rhetorical tactic has had in the holograph of eighties ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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