Seven-year-old Sol spends the day at her grandfather's old home, where her loving family is busy preparing a big surprise party for Sol's father Tona. It is sweltering hot and her aunts are fussing and arranging everything to give him a birthday to remember. Sol meanwhile plays with animals big and small in and around the house. When the sun sets and guests start to trickle in, the cheerful bustle gives way to an elusive melancholy. The party is brimming with joyous love tinged with a bittersweet aftertaste.
This second, multi-award-winning feature by Mexican director Lila Avilés is a more than worthy successor to her debut film La camarista, which won her the 2019 WCA Jury Prize. Tótem celebrates life in an intimate way, showing how everyone handles letting go differently, while they also trying to enjoy every second that life counts.