Bianca is a freelance journalist and documentary critic. She is a regular contributor to Modern Times Review.

As his country slowly moves past its communist decades, a Cuban veteran is stuck in the past.

To War

(Para la Guerra)

Francisco Marise

Francisco Marise

Andres is a Cuban veteran who never stopped being a soldier. He fought in Angola and Nicaragua, but even though his last mission ended more than 30 years ago, he kept the mindset of a soldier and never stopped believing in the communist cause. And while enchantment with the Revolution faded in Cuba in the long decades of scarcity and totalitarian rule, and his country is now slowly changing, Andres trains for a war he is certain will come. Inhabiting a past that was never truly that glorious, he lives in a world that only exists in his mind and in the modest apartment where he lives. Francisco Marise’s first feature film is a touching portrait of this devoted aging man, left behind by time and history to be an illustration of how the scars of war and the damages of doctrine have unexpected faces and can mark a soldier’s heart and mind for life.

Living in a time long past

The film borrows the uneventful pace of Andres’ life. Time hardly moves in his surroundings. He spends his life training and doing simple chores in his apartment. He demonstrates his combat abilities in front of the camera, becoming a live illustration of a soldier’s training manual with original training instructions appearing on the screen before each of his set of combat moves. And while these shots at first seem odd, almost surreal, the sadness of this man’s loneliness and the seriousness of his devotion soon take over the atmosphere in the film.

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