The 1970s are far behind us, but for a Cuban veteran named Andres, also known as Mandarria, the era is still very much on his mind. Once he fought in the name of the revolution with comrades in Angola and Nicaragua. While they went on to resume civilian lives, he retains the mindset of a soldier. He still trains every day for the conflict he believes is sure to come. This experimental portrait combines images and sound to capture how he experiences all of this.
Using the structure of a military training guide, To War follows Mandarria as he practices combat, camouflage and assault techniques in the jungle, consistently shot in static close-ups. Night-time missions are reconstructed in point-of-view shots with the graininess of VHS. The sounds of heavy breathing, distant thunder, radio noise and gunfire emphasize how seriously Mandarria takes his activities. Meanwhile, the solitary fighter in his sixties attempts to trace his former comrades-in-arms by phone. The conversations are painful, bringing both the protagonist and the viewer back to the lonely reality of his here and now.