The Films of the Eighties: A Social History
SIU Press, 1995 - 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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Often , as in War Games ( 1983 ) or Winter Kills ( 1979 , 1983 ) , computer screens become villains capable of destroying reputations or even destroying the world , but they are not the only machines that either threaten or seduce ...
In the eighties , film history becomes the mass media vehicle for the representation and interpretation of the complex holograph of social history . 2 The Vietnam War as Film Text 0 N THE The Holograph of History 115.
... and in the American social consciousness all through the eighties because it had become a metaphor for what America was afraid it was going to become in the economic and political cold war with Russia and Japan , a loser .
This concept of " using " the war has , in the eighties , become a way of presenting students and the society at large with an anchor in their own life - texts , a sense of their own history and that of their parents , their generation ...
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