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.
From inside the book
Film distributes the holographic possibilities of history to the masses , offers a variety of interpretations of history that help to foster understanding of the nature of our past and our contemporary world .
Reagan - era conservative politics consti- tute one full layer that overlays all of the others . The legacies of the past , particularly Vietnam and the resurrection of fifties issues such as detente with Russia and the nuclear ...
In film , this same self - reflexivity took the form of a consistent examination of eighties issues in terms of past history . A fascination for the Vietnam War , its meaning and aftermath , especially exemplified this eighties self ...
For example , in past eras of film history a critic concentrating upon films that displayed a sociohistorical consciousness rarely got the opportunity to analyze comedies . In the eighties , however , due mainly to the yuppie phenome- ...
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The Coming Home Films
The Terrorism Film Texts
The Nuclear War Film Texts
From the Evil Empire to Glasnost
The Feminist Farm Crisis and Other Neoconservative
The Yuppie Texts
Film in the Holograph of New History