To War (Para la guerra), dir. Francisco Marise, Spain / Argentina / Portugal / Panama 2018, 65 min., Spanish with English subtitles
Nicknamed ‘Mandarria’ (‘Sledgehammer’), Andrés Rodríguez Rodríguez once fought alongside his fellow Cubans in support of liberation armies in Angola and Nicaragua. Mandarria is now in his sixties, his days in the special forces long behind him – but just as he persists in maintaining his punishing training regimen, alone in rural Cuba, so he continues to chase the ghosts of his past on the frontline.
Francisco Marise’s poetic debut feature fuses cinema of the real and fictional elements to explore the memories and loneliness of one man who never quite left his past behind. It’s a war film without shooting, but with a piercing wound at its heart: that of a veteran still searching for the comrades who survived their final mission 30 years ago.