Lesson #18 Double Identity or 'Fool and Games Upside Down'

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

#structure #featurefilm #filmstructure



Let’s now see what it means to have the Fool archetype after the Midpoint where the hero first thinks he is on the top of the world, and later on realizes the world he chose to rule is fake.


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At the very beginning of this stage, it’s time for playfulness and curiosity, the hero thinks he has achieved something and he can finally relax and just have fun. The Fool archetype is, in its essence, the naive but curious child within us, who is easily bored if not in contact with something new.


In the first position Warrior --> Fool, the Fool is a trickster who can change faces and roles. It represents the duality within us, especially at the beginning where all roads are still open, and the hero can either chose to go on a quest or not to go at all. But also, after the Midpoint, we cannot say that we are entering into the purely positive side of this archetype, because this archetype is actually the only one that can change faces and properties all the time. The nature of the Fool archetype is that of “the twin”, and you can never really be sure if it’s positive or negative, therefore we can treat it as neutral.


Here you can read what was previously written about the Fool.


Remember all of the depictions of the Fool throughout art history?



A fool is playful just because he can.

A fool is joyful even if he is sad.

A fool is so foolish that he is even brave.

Believe him - he is fooling you well.

Don’t believe him, he’ll even be mad –

He gets away with it – it’s all part of the game.

Beware – he’ll do it again.


As I mentioned in the previous post, the Fool is a trickster, a seducer, a playboy, a playgirl. Usually situations in this part of the film can be tricky. Because it is the twin archetype, this trickiness is also about the hero’s ‘wish’ and the hero’s ‘need’ coming together.

They either meet each other in person and have a metaphorical ‘gunfight’ like in The Birds (Mother and Melanie having an open conversation) or they just come so close that the hero can finally observe them and later on compare them, like in Sunset Boulevard.


That’s why I think it’s important to understand this stage as an expression of a ‘Double Identity.’ From the hero’s perspective, both sides of himself that were previously in conflict with each other or were repressed are now out in the open.

It is also accurate to call this stage ‘Fool and games’ but because of the trickiness that is coming with the Fool archetype, I am adding: ‘Upside Down’. Only by changing the perspective, the hero can come closer to what’s really important, especially because at the midpoint, he was in the wrong place. In this stage he has an opportunity to really see himself with different eyes.


Also, even though the hero takes some time to have fun, something deep down is telling him that this is not the end of the road.



If you are familiar with Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet, the template structure for feature film, you already know that the ‘Fun and games’ stage is before the Midpoint –


and as maybe you already figured out, my idea is to prove to you that the ‘Fun and games’ or my ‘Fool and games’ stage, in most films, happen after the Midpoint.

The Warrior adds his shadow side to this stage in the form of a hurt ego, which is manifested as anger or rage.

When all of this is put together the formula for the Fool --> Warrior stage sound like this:


Double Identity (Fool and Games Upside Down / Rage come up again, the Hero realizes that he is being fooled by others or by himself).



When structuring your film, use the following plot elements for the Fool --> Warrior stage:


1. Let the hero’s ‘wish’ and ‘need’ come closer. Make the conflict stronger.

2. The hero has been fooled and his ego is hurt.

3. Someone else can also play the fool archetype for the hero.

4. It’s all about the relationships.

5. Characters as well as situations can be tricky or false.

6. Let the audience compare both story lines (A and B) to each other.

7. In some genres, it is not going to be possible to have fun at this part of the film, but ‘Double identity’ is going to work nevertheless.




In Fish Tank the Fool --> Warrior stage begins at 57.00.


After the midpoint where Mia sees her mom and Conor having sex, both Mia and the audience need some time to breathe. In Fool and Games stage, Mia’s ego is hurt and she needs something of her own to survive. She is behaving foolishly with the young guy and even bringing him to Conor, who is at work. Mia’s ‘need’ and ‘wish’ actually meet in person for the first time. Later on, she is drinking with the young guy.

This whole sequence is uplifting and playful.



In Force Majeure the Fool --> Warrior stage begins at 1. 07.00


After that awkward dinner where the truth about the avalanche becomes clear, Mats (Tomas’s friend) and his girlfriend Fanny are debating about how Mats would react in the same situation. Fanny says that she thinks he would do the same, because instead of taking care of his family, he is at the ski resort with her. He becomes obsessed with trying to prove that she is wrong. This ‘you said I said’ ego response scene becomes truly hilarious since he is going back and forth with the same arguments for hours. He is being childish but also furious that she compared him with some young guy who she thinks would behave better.

Here, you have an example of how story B and story A are being compared to each other in the ‘Fool and Games’ stage of the film.



In Sunset Boulevard the Fool --> Warrior stage begins at 54.00.


In the last post we explained this stage in depth:

Norma is playing the fool for Joe: she is imitating Charlie Chaplin's Tramp.

The whole studio setting at Paramount is definitely the ‘Fool and games’ stage, and the whole Paramount sequence is a trickster sequence: they wanted Norma’s car not her script.

Her ego is hurt. Joe’s ego is hurt because he knows now that he can be bought and he actually fooled himself. Joe offers Betty to write his story.

It’s so funny that even that story has something to do with the twin archetype: “She teaches during the day, he teaches at night, they don’t even know each other but they share the same room, it’s cheaper that way, as a matter of fact, they sleep in the same bad.”


Funny, isn’t it?





Homework:


Use the archetypal elements we mentioned, to play with the ideas for the first part of the third act.


Here you can read about the whole third act.






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