We Were Strangers (1949)
1932. The tyrannical and despotic government of President Machado has headed Cuba for seven years. The latest measure of that tyranny is the outlawing of public gatherings of more than four people, such acts the government deeming treasonous. China Valdés, a young woman who works in an American bank in Havana, is generally non-political. However, she decides to join the revolutionary forces to avenge the murder of her activist brother Manolo – a murder she witnessed – at the hands of the government, the trigger pulled by a police officer she will eventually learn is named Armando Ariete. Her goal is to kill Ariete. Another of the revolutionaries, an American entertainment promoter named Tony Fenner, convinces her to hold off on her assassination, as he believes he has come up with a plan that can wipe out all the major government leaders in one fell swoop. Along with China and Tony, the Chief of the revolutionaries amasses a team of four non-related men – Guillermo, Ramón, Miguel and Toto – to work on the plot, they who didn’t know each other previously so that they cannot be tied together within the plot on a superficial level. Tony’s general plan is to choose one key sacrificial high ranking government target, and then set off a bomb at that person’s funeral, killing everyone attending the funeral, which should include the President. They do realize that a good number of innocent people will be killed, but accept that collateral damage as part of the greater good, as each of them are generally willing to die for the cause themselves. There are a good number of physical challenges facing the team, the biggest perhaps the digging of a tunnel from China’s cellar, across the street to the cemetery so that the bomb can be transported undetected. But it may be the emotional challenges which provide the biggest hurdles in carrying out the plan successfully. Some of those emotional challenges stem from Ariete’s interest in China, which could be purely the interest of a man in a woman, or could perhaps be because he recognizes her as the woman who saw him kill Manolo.