Lost in America:
The Other Side of Reagan’s 80s
A season of films revealing the real 80s America.
“We could just take all our parents’ money, take off, discover America, and make like we’re Easy Rider plus five”
American cinema in the 1980s is usually seen as having thrown aside the character-driven, questing spirit of the New Hollywood of the 60s and 70s in favour of high-concept spectacles, coming-of-age teen movies and cartoonish action, with what challenging pockets that remained bubbling up on the indie margins. But amid the ‘Morning in America’ reckoning, there were some filmmakers who chose not to wake up – to keep the flame of New Hollywood burning and make personal films that revealed the other side of Reaganism’s hollow optimism. Ranging from gritty dramas to revealing documentary to spiky comedy, the often overlooked films in this Sight & Sound programme expose the real 80s America, in all its troubling, fascinating complexity.
See Sight & Sound’s June issue for more on this season.