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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When New York actor Michael Dorsey ( Dustin Hoffman ) becomes a woman to get a part in a TV soap opera , he learns a lot more about gender than just how to wear a dress , shave one's legs , and fight off unsolicited sexual advances .
On the gray , bleak , south coast of England , a woman stands at the end of an ancient quay as the stormy seas crash around her . A Victorian gentleman walking with his betrothed sees this solitary female figure defying the storm ...
feminist independence in yet another alternative world , that of black women . ... Lee has created a marvelously original feminist character : a black woman , a professional woman , a sexual woman , a free woman .
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The Vietnam War as Film Text
The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
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