In Let There Be Light (Budiž světlo), Milan Ondrík plays Milan Duris, a good-natured, well-liked construction worker who makes a living in Germany and sends his earnings back to support his wife, Zuzka, and their three children in a village in Slovakia. When he goes home for Christmas, Zuzka grumbles that it is hard having him away all the time and she wishes he would just move back, even if it is harder to find a job. But there is a bigger problem lurking in the background. Their oldest child, teenage Adam (František Beleš), often goes out late at night and refuses to say where.
After a classmate of Adam’s commits suicide, the police come to the door to ask Adam questions about the deceased and what he knows about what led to the tragedy. Adam pleads ignorance, but it’s obvious that he’s lying. Gradually it comes out that Adam is a member of a right-wing paramilitary group, and that the boy who killed himself did so after brutal and humiliating bullying. Good-natured though he may be, Milan has a violent side of his own. He is overly proud of his collection of firearms and, when he realizes that Adam has joined the racist group, Milan beats him until he confesses the details, including his fear that he will be the group’s next victim.
Outraged that such a group can exist in his village, and that its toxic ideology has encroached on his own family, Milan violently confronts the group’s leaders, who retaliate against the Duris family home and even Zuzka’s small cheese-making business. So Milan goes to the authorities, only to learn that the local Catholic priest is the group’s spiritual and ideological leader and that members of the police force are also more sympathetic to the right-wing terrorists than to their victims. Even Milan’s friends and neighbors begin to shun him, fearing retribution from the church and police-supported group.
Director Marko Škop’s first feature film was the equally noteworthy Eva Nová. Regarding the false patriotism he portrays in Let There Be Light, Škop has said, “I have the feeling that there exists just a very thin line between affiliation to our own people, to people just like me on the one hand, and a broken nose on the other, when I stop being in harmony with them.”