Andrés is known to many only as "Mandarria" — Spanish for "sledgehammer". That was the nickname he had while fighting as a member of the special forces of Cuba's revolutionary army on the front lines of the Angolan and Nicaraguan wars of liberation. Since then, more than 30 years have passed, but the effects of those wars haven't let him go. Every day, Andrés trains his more than 60-year-old body, practices fighting, and reviews deceptive maneuvers for the day when an American invasion or an international mission calls him to duty. Sooner or later, he believes, a new conflict will arise and Cuba will again require his service. To that end, he also attempts to locate his old war buddies. Contrasting the lives of his one-time companions, who have all adjusted to civilian life, with his reveals one thing above all: the loneliness and isolation of a generation that once risked their lives for the ideals of the revolution.
Meet the director
Born in Argentina in 1985, Francisco Marise is an Italian-Argentinian filmmaker who studied documentary filmmaking at the International Film and TV School in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. He is an image and sound designer who has also stage-managed rock bands. TO WAR is his first full-length documentary.