Tropes & Clichés and other blocks of storytelling

I write this because I believe that English uses the word “trope” in a different way than in French. It’s a rare word here, and I had to check in dictionaries to understand it.

I hear that in the world of telling stories, a trope is like a “little structure”, linked to other words : conventions, stereotypes, clichés, but also “twists and turns”.

  1. Big tropes, archetypes with capitals like : The Chosen One. The Artifact of Power. The Damsel in Distress. The Knight in Shining Armor.
  2. Typical narrative structures like : enemies to lovers, tough guy secretly sensitive, forbidden love,
  3. Situations or plot elements : “there’s only one bed”

 

It leads to many questions & paths :

  • Tropes by categories (ex : Fantasy Tropes : quest, dark lord, hero, good vs evil, blah blah)
  • Clichés are boring, aren’t tropes boring?
  • New tropes?
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clich%C3%A9 Clichés are irritating, right?
  • Platitudes. Stereotypes.
  • Tropes are good because familiarity.
  • When tropes are predictable to the point of boredom.
  • Are predictable tropes clichés?
  • Tropes as metaphors.

 

Well, it’s too big. Creativity and storytelling, finding the frontier between good tropes and boring ones, etc. I need a book. You have an idea?

Thanks for reading!

 

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Films with gathered disillusioned friends?

Films with gathered disillusioned friends?
(The Big Chill & Peter’s Friends to begin)

They were friends, they gather, they talk. Things burst. Disillusions. Memories. Mistakes. It’s a good subject, and I’d like to study the way writers treat this matter. Thus :

I had the idea to ask this question on a Facebook group page (“Cinema, mon amour”) then in another one (“The Empire Magazine Group”) and got a few answers. I present here the greatest ones (more than 7/10 on IMDB) :

 

The Big Chill (1983) : A group of seven former college friends gather for a weekend reunion at a South Carolina winter house after the funeral of one of their friends.

We All Loved Each Other So Much (1974) : Gianni, Nicola and Antonio become close friends in 1944 while fighting the Nazis. After the end of the war, full of illusions, they settle down. The movie is a the story of the life of these three idealists and how they deal with the inevitable disillusionments of life.

Peter’s Friends (1992) : Six former college friends, with two new friends, gather for a New Year’s Eve weekend reunion at a large English countryside manor after ten years to reminisce about the good times now long gone.

Career Girls (1997) : 2 young women reunite and rekindle their friendship after having said goodbye at their college graduation, six years earlier.

Return of the Secaucus Seven (1979) : Seven former college friends, along with a few new friends, gather for a weekend reunion at a summer house in New Hampshire to reminisce about the good old days, when they got arrested on the way to a protest in Washington, DC.

84 Charing Cross Road (1987) : True story of a transatlantic business correspondence about used books that developed into a close friendship.

We have many in France :

Le péril jeune (1994) : Ten years after their Upper Sixth, Bruno, Momo, Leon and Alain meet together in the waiting room of a maternity hospital. The father of the awaited baby is Tomasi, their best friend at that time, who died one month before due to an overdose. They remember their teenage, their laughs, their dreams, their stupid pranks… Through the pasts of the five main characters, a description of the French youth in the middle of the seventies.

Les petits mouchoirs (2010) : A near-fatal accident leaves one friend in the hospital while the rest go on their annual vacation. But their secrets and personal grief threaten to drive them apart.

Mes meilleurs copains (1989) : They are the best friends of the world. Five friends who shared everything: may 68, hippies years, the rock and their love for Bernadette. This Bernadette has left them to become a rock-star, and is back 15 years later for a weekend. Jean-Marie Poire describes with this movie the portrait of a generation with lots of humor served by excelent actors.

La quarantaine (1982)

 

Thanks for reading!

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