Toto And His Sisters

Close Up
Director: Alexander Nanau | Year: 2014 | Length: 93 min
Language: Romanian with English subtitles | Certificate: null

Emmy award-winner Alexander Nanau captures the astonishing story of three abandoned Romanian siblings locked in poverty, in this tender, subtle observation of childhood, family relations and love.

Ten year old Toto and his elder sisters come from a Roma family of junkies and drug dealers. Their troubled mother is in prison, and the trio wait for her return. As months turn to years, Toto flits between the family “apartment” where his neighbours and eldest sister shoot up heroin, and the partial avenues of escape offered by the state. His fourteen year old sister Andreea meanwhile tries her hardest to keep her siblings from harm, finding release only in the video diary shat she occasionally records.

A profound, multi-award winning window into the profound inequality that persists across Europe today, Toto And His Sisters is non-didactic filmmaking of the highest order, but a searing indictment of society’s failure to guarantee decent care, housing and dignity for all who need it.


Andreea’s surrogate mothering of Toto is to be deeply admired, though it has robbed her of her own childhood – likewise the interventions of well-meaning individuals operating as the clearly underfunded social-care net.


Incredible access and deft editing, handled with extreme sensitivity.

Entertaining / Gripping

Tragic and enraging, but infused with moments of gift, affection and even laughter

Viewer discretion advice

Contains images of young people injecting heroin and frequent swearing.

a remarkably high degree of access and trust The Hollywood Reporter
Zurich Film Festival, Best documentary
Warsaw Film Festival, Winner, Best documentary