Unlike reenactment per se, pretext is generally recognized only by other documentary makers or those familiar with the production process.
dir. Maite Alberdi, 2014, Chile
genre: longitudinal/observational-portrait documentary
This is a type of documentary with an understandable hook – the juxtaposition of a documentary about Chilean culture and politics with an avowedly feminine and middle-class space of a domestic tea. And it combines a somewhat unusual observational style (heavy on tight framings) with a portraiture of engaging “characters,” the women who are friends and keep in touch despite the changes that aging brings into their lives.
But one thing the film underscored for me is how one production convention of the doc is to create a situation to film. Nothing happens in Tea Time other than gatherings filmed by the filmmakers and possibly convened by the filmmakers. In other words, a documentary pretext organizes the filming and the profilmic. This is common to other films, as well, but Tea Time at times foregrounds this, using transition shots of the host posing in her living space and stylized shots which suggest an artificiality to the proceedings.