SIFF Says:A group of women who meet for tea, cakes, gossip and reminiscences are the center of La Once, a Chilean expression for tea time. With sensitivity, simplicity and a keen sense of humor, the filmmaker records the conversations of these high school friends (one of them her own grandmother) who have religiously maintained the tradition of meeting once a month for six decades. Memories of the past and the proximity of death set the tone for these gatherings. In this story about friendship, growing old, and the role of women in the last century, Director Maite Alberdi cleverly confines the camera to the parlors where the reunions take place, focusing on the carefully coiffed, smartly attired protagonists' wrinkled and immaculately made-up faces. Meeting after meeting, we get to know these charming women on a surprisingly deep emotional level. TEA TIME has been receiving accolades since it premiered in Chile last year, garnering Best Documentary at the Guadalajara, Cartagena and Miami Film Festivals, just to name of few.
If you’ve ever yearned for a window into the souls of upper-class, octogenarian Chilean women, Tea Time
is yours to cherish. This documentary studies the faces and hands of longtime friends during their monthly high-tea ritual as they joke and argue, and the servants bring a steady parade of sandwiches and intricate-looking cakes. Their discussions—about infidelity, death, homosexuality, religion, melancholies past and present—are gratifyingly candid but feel as if they’re coming from a century away. (Though they do take brief detours into emo culture and twerking.) Tea Time may be as close to a home movie from the Edwardian era as we’re ever likely to see. (BRENDAN KILEY)
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