Ben Oliver

Now
Banner image for Tótem
film

Tótem

You can fall, but don’t break.
26 January 2024

Sol, a young girl (Naíma Sentíes), and her family prepare a birthday party for her father who is almost completely bedridden. She starts to come to terms with the reality that this might be his last birthday.

A child’s eye view of a vibrant and active household. People come and go, things are always going off and Sol must sit back, take it all in and try to make sense of it. It often feels like Avilés simply recreated moments of reality, which is occasionally hard to relate to but mostly makes for an original and sweet film.

It’s a beautiful film, shot in an intimate (and trendy) 4:3 boxy aspect ratio, that wants to celebrate life as much as it wants to face death. I really connected with it as things went from slow family drama to a warts-and-all family party.