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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Each makes his private point about how “ survivor guilt ” works in the lexicon of the Vietnam veteran who ten years later is still trying to come home . The wife of Wilkes ( Fred Ward ) , the tunnel rat , speaks for her husband : WIFE ...
In Frantic ( 1988 ) , when the wife of an American medical doctor is kidnapped by terrorists at a convention in Paris , the American embassy refuses to even acknowledge her disappearance and the doctor must brave the Paris underworld on ...
strength that Viv generates as she competes against this younger woman , not just for her man but for her self - respect as a wife and mother . In Falling in Love ( 1984 ) , the competition is much less classical , as if keyed to the ...
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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