One of our festival highlights earlier this year, Lila Avilés’ Tótem is now preparing for a U.S. release to kick off 2024 following an awards-qualifying. Mexico’s Oscar entry marks the director’s follow-up to The Chambermaid and follows a family over the course of a single, meaningful day, mainly from the perspective of 7-year-old Sol (Naíma Sentíes), as her mother (Montserrat Marañón) and extended relatives prepare for the birthday party of the girl’s father (Mateo Garcia). Ahead of a January 26, 2024 release for the Berlinale and ND/NF selection from Sideshow and Janus Films, the first U.S. trailer has now arrived.
Rory O’Connor said in his review, “The characters of Tótem don’t just appear onscreen; they take it over. From the top there’s the patriarch Roberto (Alberto Amador), who speaks using an electrolarynx and, when not dryly cajoling his flock, enjoys pruning a handsome Bonsai. There are his daughters Alejandra (Marisol Gasé), who we meet mid-phonecall, mid-ciggie, and covered in hair dye, and Nuria (Montserrat Marañon); their children, the young Marthe (Saori Gurza) as well as a gamer and a stroppy teen whose names I lost track of. There is Alejandra’s brother, an artist named Tona (played by the screenwriter Mateo García Elizondo), and his partner Lucia (Iazua Larios), with whom he has a daughter, Sol (Naíma Sentíes). This lively ensemble are joined here and there by a mystic, a party of friends, a cat named Monsi, two dogs, three snails, a parrot, a scorpion, enough plants to fill a modest botanical garden, and a pestering drone.”
See the trailer below.
Tótem opens on January 26, 2024.