The Story Behind Music & Sound of “And Then We Danced”
In 2018, a producer, Ketie Danelia approached Postred. She confided about a very secret shooting to us. It would tell a story about Georgian male dancers falling in love with each other. It was a very hush-hush project, considering the patriarchal and ultra-religious society of Georgia. We were asked if we would risk working on the movie and make sound design and music for it. There was not a pinch of doubt as we loved the script and wanted to be part of this beautiful story that writer and director Levan Akin created.
When we first saw the movie, we were in awe with the way it was shot. Telling an amazing story and touching subtly every social and economic problem, showed the soul of the city; and, of course, showed a deep understanding of a coming-of-age boy who tries everything to be the best dancer, but struggles as he is too “soft” for the masculine Georgian dances.
The film is filled with the day-to-day lives of Georgians. When you walk in the streets of Tbilisi, you hear a lot of cars passing by, stray dogs barking; special Tbilisi Yard settlements where multiple families are living in one big yard and there’s always talks and sounds coming out from each house. To convey this essence of Tbilisi, we had to do a lot of field recordings. Our sound engineers went out to record sounds of nighttime, people talking and children playing in the Tbilisi Yards. Whoever saw the movie, might also have heard the very echoey sounds of the room where the dancers rehearse. We recorded the IRs (Impulse Responses) in the empty room to underline this echoey sound that is a very common and known sound for all the Georgian dancers 🙂
We were really lucky with our foley artist as he is a former dancer of Georgian dances. So, when it came to recording foley for dances, Biko literally danced the whole routines repeating every step.
Making music for the movie was the most challenging part. In the end credits, you can see a lot of anonymous musicians and singers, who decided not to reveal their names out of the fear of their religious friends, relatives, and even neighbors. Our composer Zviad Mgebry has created most of the music from scratch, as the owners of the tracks (initially intended for the movie) were against the film and didn’t give rights to use their music. This left us with a very short timeframe to create music with a sense that such music already exists in our society and is well known in certain groups.
Those who have seen the movie might remember a scene where Merab, Irakli, Mari, and Ninuca are driving in a car to the village house and sing along to the track on the radio. Initially, the track was different from the one that ended up in the movie. The owners of the track were threatening the moviemakers if they would use their music in the gay drama. But how should we have changed a track where we could see the characters singing in close-ups? This was the most difficult part, but Zviad Mgebry managed to write lyrics according to the lip movements of the characters and created a whole new song which later was recorded in our studio by Levan Gelbakhiani (Merab) and Bachi Valishvili (Irakli). After watching the movie, no one could understand that the characters were singing a different song, that’s how well lip-synced it was.
“And Then We Danced” was one of the most interesting films we have worked on! It was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in Director’s Fortnight Section and ended up receiving more than 20 prizes around the world.
Postred is a proud storyteller of the movie that has been very controversial in Georgia but ended up touching a lot of people’s hearts being gay or straight.