Let There Be Light (1946) is a documentary film directed by American filmmaker John Huston (1906–1987). It was not released until the 1980’s as its release was suppressed by US government earlier.
So what was it that the US government didn’t want the public to know ? Strangely, it is nothing that should have been secretive at all. The film is about the post war trauma that soldiers underwent after World War II.
The film begins with an introduction, stating that 20 percent of wartime casualties are of a psychiatric nature. After the war, soldiers were transported to hospital to be treated for mental conditions brought about by war. They were suffering from various “nervous conditions” including psychoneurosis, battle neurosis, conversion disorder, amnesia, severe stammering, and anxiety states Various treatment methods are employed to cure them. Treatments depicted include narcosynthesis, hypnosis, group psychotherapy, music therapy, and work therapy. One soldier who had amnesia was hypnotized to remember the trauma of the Japanese bombings on Okinawa and his life before then. Another is given an intravenous injection of sodium amytal to induce a hypnotic state, curing him of his mental inability to walk. The treatments are followed by classes (designed to reintegrate patients into civilian life) and group therapy sessions. Therapists make a point of reassuring the patients that there is nothing to be ashamed of for receiving treatment for their mental conditions, and that civilians subjected to the same stresses would develop the same conditions. The film ends with a number of the featured patients participating in a ceremony in which they are discharged, not just from the hospital, but from military service, and returned to civilian life.
The film is NOT enacted. All the scenes in the film are REAL and ACTUAL. The doctors, soldiers, patients, hospitals are all real and their treatment process has been captured on camera is REAL.
A great takeaway from the film is how the mind is more powerful than the body. Most of our physical and mental problems are created by us through our mind. Seemingly, the problems are real for us. But actually, all the problems are self created by mind. The stark reality in the film displays this truth clearly and in a very easily understandable way.
The movie is available on YouTube as well as Netflix. It is a “must watch” movie for all, especially the urban population who face lot of mental stress in daily life.