La Once (en)

La Once / Tea Time



Maite Alberdi


  • Chile


Feature film



Film exhibited in Toulouse: 

El salvavidas” - Competencia Largometraje Documental
Premios en otros festivales: Premio del público Festival Internacional de cine de Valdivia.

Foreseen cast: 

Real characters

Script writer(s): 

Maite Alberdi


Six elderly women religiously gather for tea, once a month, for the past sixty years. In these meetings, they try to look their best, jovial, as if they had their whole lives ahead of them, trying to momentarily hide the fact that time is inevitably passing for them.
Around the table, they make an effort to have something to tell, not to go unnoticed, showing they are still up-to-date. They spend their time interpreting current affairs and fashion from what others, or the TV, have told them. Despite not understanding some trends, they comment on them with absolute authority, trying to explain them to one another. In these teatime gatherings they learn, for instance, who is Madonna, what are swingers, and what “cool,” “humping,” and “making out,” mean.
When there are discrepancies, it is the personal histories that come out and highlight the differences of opinion. Despite having a common education in a religious school, they had to live through a period of radical historical changes that provoked polarizations within the group: some had access to higher education, others opted for being homemakers; some used contraceptives, others became widows before having access to them; some separated due to their husbands’ infidelities, others decided to keep appearances; some married officers in the armed forces, others had to suffer the disappearance of relatives during the dictatorship. Therefore, despite having very different biographies and personalities, which generates constant quarrels among them, in the long run they manage to understand, complement and accompany each other.
They have suffered mild losses in sense perceptions, but each one has a different ailment, so that an individual lack is supplemented by the group-mates. For example, the one that is not listening reads to the one that does not see. Thus, they manage to put together a lifestyle system that completely ignores the illnesses they suffer. The afternoons pass and it seems that nothing in their lives changes, until the death of one of them makes them go through a period of evident transformation.

Visual concept: 

“Tea Time” is an observation documentary where the audience will witness moments in dialogues and situations that are usually kept private. In the observation, the camera will be a silent witness that appears to be in that space by accident. The treatment will create the sensation that we are accompanying the characters during one afternoon, but little by little, we realize that time has moved forward, and that months and even years have gone by. The temporal treatment will represent the inevitable passage of time for these women; although it seems everything remains the same, the changes will become evident. The film is a tracking through time, which will center exclusively on this monthly encounter, when they get together for tea, and on a single setting: the table. The film is entirely set in this space. At the beginning, the story will seem anchored on a single teatime gathering, we will believe there is a temporal unity, but slowly, we will realize that covers an extended period of time in one place.