The Expanded Cinema of Claudio Caldini and Andrés Di Tella
HACHAZOS, THE EXPANDED CINEMA OF
CLAUDIO CALDINI AND ANDRES DI TELLA
The local experimental cinema community knows well the name of Claudio Caldini. His films aren’t regularly screened, but when they are, the projection itself becomes an event, an installation, a reading and a concert. Nothing seems to be taken for granted. The cinematic spectacle changes to become an unpredictable performance during which cinema bursts beyond the screen and transforms into what many critics have called “cine expandido,” or “expanded cinema.”
At the Sala Lugones last Wednesday night, Caldini presented Hachazos, a fragment of the “Multiple and Mutant” project he’s developing with filmmaker Andrés Di Tella. The project will eventually result in a book and a film by Di Tella about Caldini. In the first two rows of the movie theater sat five Super-8 projectors, operated by Caldini himself, who at times also played a keyboard synthesizer. Doing so, he became the accompanist for his own silent and hallucinogenic motion pictures. At different points during the projection, Caldini would stand and deliberately cast his own shadow on the screen. At other moments, Di Tella read fragments of biographical and fictional texts or pressed the keys of a noisy, manual typewriter.
The title of the work, Hachazos (Blows of an Ax), refers to the practice of film distributors — common here when Caldini was a kid — of destroying movie prints with an ax when their permissions had expired. They then sold them to the painting industry which recycled the acetate. But the story becomes more personal and complex when we hear that Caldini’s father and godfather kept a mini-workshop where they restored these films and then viewed them in private screenings for family and friends. The story goes that the discussion afterward revolved less around the film itself than about the technical accomplishment of the restorers. It’s the material effort, usually hidden to the audience, that became visible during these viewings.
“We need to escape this ocean of anonymous images,” Di Tella explains, referring to the proliferation of YouTube videos and other digital media that, in contrast to Super-8, for instance, allows infinite reproduction. Di Tella and Caldini’s performance piece isn’t scheduled to happen again; it doesn’t have a Replay button. However, the biographical texts and images read and shown in that unique context don’t evoke regret or indulge in nostalgia. Quite the opposite, they produce a different, expanded and new experience that transforms memory itself.