Tótem Cinematic Odyssey: A Profound Journey Through Life and Loss

Tótem Cinematic Odyssey: In Lila Avilés’ “Tótem,” a film centered around the theme of death, the narrative is remarkably authentic.

The camera gracefully navigates the lively chaos of an extended family preparing for a celebratory birthday gathering. Amidst this, 7-year-old Sol (Naíma Sentíes) observes her father, Tonatiuh or “Tona” (Mateo Garcia), who is the focal point of the festivities.

The scenes unfold with a natural, warm disorder, capturing the essence of familial interactions. Tona’s sisters, Alejandra (Marisol Gasé) and Nuri (Montserrat Marañón), contribute to the lively atmosphere. However, beneath the apparent normalcy, profound events are at play. Tona, seen sporadically in his bedroom, battles cancer, rendering him weak and emaciated.

The film begins with a poignant moment between Sol and her mother, passing beneath a bridge, making a wish to defy the looming tragedy. Sol confesses her wish: “I wished for Daddy not to die,” setting a somber tone for the audience.

Despite the family’s efforts to shield Sol from the harsh reality, the film subtly explores whether they are protecting her or merely providing a distraction. Sol, keenly perceptive, sees through the facade. Dressed in a clown wig and nose for the party, she yearns to see her father, but the family insists he’s resting.

Avilés masterfully captures the essence of Sol’s perspective, presenting a child’s-eye view of death and family dynamics. The film unfolds organically, devoid of sentimentality, with cinematographer Diego Tenorio seamlessly shifting focus between characters and rooms.

Tótem Cinematic Odyssey (1)

The movie’s power lies in its ability to convey the constant orbit of life and death without resorting to overemphasis. Sol’s watchful eyes and the underlying dread within them become the focal point, illustrating the eclipse of her world.

While “Tótem” occasionally explores other perspectives, it remains closely tied to Sol’s experience. Avilés skillfully navigates the intricacies of familial relationships and the inevitability of life’s continuous motion, even in the face of death.

“Tótem,” Mexico’s shortlisted Oscar submission, showcases Avilés’ talent following her acclaimed debut “The Chambermaid.” The film, marked by its rich texture and achingly soulful narrative, stands out as a poignant exploration of life, death, and family dynamics.

In its melancholic perspective on life’s perpetual churn, “Tótem” distinguishes itself as a profoundly moving cinematic experience. Sol’s resistance to the festivities, her contemplative moments on the roof, and her poignant opera performance underscore the film’s nuanced portrayal of grief and resilience.

This Sideshow and Janus Films release, presented in Spanish with English subtitles, encapsulates a deeply emotional journey, earning a deserving four stars out of four in its 95-minute runtime.

FAQ About Tótem Cinematic Odyssey

Is Totem a good movie?

Lila Avilés’ film “Tótem” is an exquisite ensemble drama infused with joy and love. The impending loss of a loved one is portrayed through the perspective of 9-year-old Sol and her large, messy family.

What is the plot twist in totem?

The film takes a Hallmark/Disney tone until a bizarre ending introduces a distinctly European feel with a perverted and incredibly idiotic major plot-twist: Dorsey killed her own mother at 12.

Can a totem tell a story?

Traditional totem poles serve as emblems for families and clans, preserving ancestral stories, family ties, accomplishments, and cultural narratives. Despite a decline in the last century, their significance endures.

Where can I watch Totem movie 2023?

Totem” is available on Prime Video. The film explores complex themes through a family’s perspective, offering a unique narrative experience. Dive into this cinematic journey on the streaming platform.

Totem movie Cast

  • Montserrat Marañón
  • Iazua Larios
  • Naíma Sentíes
  • Galia Mayer
  • Mateo Garcia
  • José Manuel Poncelis
  • Saori Gurza
  • Mateo García Elizondo
  • Teresita Sánchez

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