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Filmbath Festival 2023 – Totem

27 October @ 6:00 pm - 7:40 pm

Mexico’s entry for the Oscars this year is the new film by Lila Aviles whose previous film, The Chambermaid, we screened 5 years ago. Totem is a small-scale story with wider resonance. Sol is 7, and is being driven to a party by her mother, Lucia, who we first meet as a playful and mildly subversive character.

They arrive at the daily house, where Sol’s two aunts (Nuria and Alejandra) are preparing for the celebration. Her grandfather is pruning his bonsai tree, and the only person missing is her dad, Tona. Who she is not allowed to see because he is ‘resting’. Given the fact that he is looked after by a nurse, and that he can barely walk even with her help, it comes as a bit of a surprise that the party is in celebration of Tona, which can only mean one thing – and is exactly the thing that everyone is trying to protect Sol from understanding.

Aviles’s film manages to be both cruel and kind – cruel because of the inevitability of what is happening, and kind because of the delicacy in which this impending tragedy is handled, with enough moments of levity to maintain a light touch.


27 October
6:00 pm - 7:40 pm
Event Category:


Odeon Bath
Kingsmead Complex James St W
Bath, BA1 2BX United Kingdom