Totem 12A


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From the archive

This film was last shown on 27 December 2023

Tótem by the Mexican director Lila Avilés is her second film after her highly acclaimed The Chambermaid (La Camarista) in 2018.

The setting is a large house where, over the course of a long day, family and friends meet for a dual ritual: it is the birthday of seven-year-old Sol ‘s young father Tona, but as it will likely be his last, it is also a farewell ceremony.

Like the character of the bonsai-loving patriarch, Avilés takes meticulous care in shaping her own miniature, bending trajectories and feelings, pruning all frills and excess. Tótemamasses signs and forms of life: animals, insects, plants and a parade of wonderful human beings who are stronger together.

“Tótem” is only Avilés’s second feature…but it’s also one of the finest movies you’ll see this year.”  - Manohla Dargis, The New York Times 

“A dazzling, vibrant child's-eye view of jubilation and tragedy.” - Jessica Kiang, Sight & Sound 


Lila Avilés
1 hour 35 minutes
Spanish with English subtitles
Marisol Gasé, Montserrat Marañon, Naíma Sentíes


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