During their monthly gatherings for tea, a group of Chilean women reflect on the past in a ritual that has held their friendships together for 60 years.
Video by Maite Alberdi on October 20, 2014.
In my home country of Chile, having afternoon tea together with friends and family is a cherished ritual. The custom is about far more than just tea: It’s a time to catch up with loved ones and share experiences both seismic and mundane. As time goes on, teatime and the conversations it fuels can become the glue that holds relationships together.
I have witnessed this ritual since my childhood, watching my grandmother gather with her friends once a month for tea and pastries at 5 p.m., as they have done for the last 60 years. It is impossible to overstate the importance of this occasion to her. She won’t skip it for anything.
I noticed they would repeat the same anecdotes and stories at each meeting, often down to the same exact words. With every telling, the women reacted as though they were hearing it for the first time – as a sign of respect and friendship. The occasion became the inspiration for this film. Over time, the stories themselves start to matter less than the fact that we are gathered to tell them.
I hope this short film conveys how routine turns into a rite. As you will see, these occasions can be beautiful celebrations of friendship, as well as a poignant testament to the passage of time. We should all be so lucky to have these rituals, and the relationships they foment, in our lives.