I was supervising sound designer for the wonderful feature film Twice Upon A Time In The West. Being in the role as supervisor for the first time was a great and instructive experience. Working on the sound for a film like that was plainly thrilling. I think it will be impossible to press Twice Upon A Time In The West in a particular genre and that’s a good thing. It is a western movie at times, a documentary, a thriller and sometimes a comedy.
What does this mean for the sound design? The answer is: a lot of work and a lot of fun. Given the brilliant wide angle shots of the western desert contrasted with ‘in your face’ action scenes, we as the sound team could literally go wild. Creating western style atmospheres, gun sounds and over the top effects is always fun for sound guys. At the same time we had to respect the documentary feel of certain scenes. Then there was the subliminal menacing of the bad guy, his transformation into a complete psycho, the comical scenes (e.g. between Claudia Cardinale and her assistant) and last not least the drama of a kidnapped girl.
Soundwise we were trying to contribute to the fact, that the different genres don’t split the film into parts, but maintain an overall connection, a continuous feeling of being Twice Upon A Time In The West.
Besides his talent to strongly infuse the team with his passion for the film, to me the greatest achievement of director Boris Despodov is the exciting and well functioning mixture of documentary and fiction. Unlike other films, Twice Upon A Time In The West doesn’t pretend to be a real documentary or real fiction. In fact, even after watching the movie for hundreds of hours, I still couldn’t tell exactly what is fiction and what is real. This uncertainty is sometimes funny, but most importantly contributes to the films tension in a strong way.