In a bustling Mexican household, seven-year-old Sol is swept up in a whirlwind of preparations for the birthday party for her father, Tona, led by her mother, aunts and other relatives. As the day goes on, building to an event both anticipated and dreaded, Sol begins to understand the gravity of the celebration this year and watches as her family does the same. 

Tótem, Lila Avilés's second feature made its World Premiere at the 73rd Berlinale, in Official Competition. The film represented Mexico for the Oscars 2024, for Best International Feature. It also was selected at the Gotham Awards 2023 and at the Independent Spirit Awards 2024.
Tótem has been selected in more than 80 international festivals and won more than 30 prizes. 


David Fear - ROLLING STONE “A masterpiece.”


Jake Coyle - ASSOCIATED PRESS “The year is young, but you’re unlikely to see a film as richly textured as Avilés’ masterful TÓTEM."


Justin Chang - LOS ANGELES TIMES “An exquisite, emotionally overwhelming drama. Avilés pulls you into the action with a depth and force of feeling.”


Alison Willmore - VULTURE “A dazzling family drama. A heartfelt celebration of life.”


Carlos Aguilar - THE PLAYLIST “A luminous and soul-nourishing microcosm built on profound love in the face of impending grief.”


Glenn Whipp, LOS ANGELES TIMES “Unforgettable.”

Peter De Bruge - VARIETY “Secrets Are Made and Truths Revealed at an Unforgettable Family Gathering

 Jessica Kiang - THE NEW YORK TIMESAvilés manages to corral both, often in the very same shot, delivering deceptively naturalistic performances that plunge us into a young girl’s first experience of the terrible and beautiful coexistence of life and death.”

Manohla Dargis - THE NEW YORK TIMESOne of the finest movies you’ll see this year.”

Clarisse Fabre - LE MONDE  “The singularity of the project and the sum of tragicomic events that burst like mini fireworks put us in a state of exhilaration.”

Jonathan Romney - SCREEN INTERNATIONAL Lila Avilés achieves this feat with elegance and insight in Tótem” , “this thematically rich piece offers a set of vivid character studies, while musing on life, death and time

Leslie Felperin - THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTERTótem packs in a massive amount of drama into a small space, and the rewards are immense

Rory O’Conor - THE FILM STAGE  “a beautiful, bustling portrait of a Mexican family

Nicolas Bell - ION CINEMA  “Life and Death of the Party: Avilés’ ensemble piece balances pain & profundity

Stephen Salto - THE MOVEABLELila Avilés’ spellbinding Tótem puts a hold on you

Lucy Virgen - THE FILM VERDICT  ” great sensibility and a strong hand in Tótem

William Sottor - LOUD AND CLEAR  “an expertly crafted family drama that finds human connection and clashes within confined interiors.”