Let There Be Light

Huston’s U.S. Army produced, Let There Be Light (1946) follows twenty-seven ex-soldiers dealing with their psychological demons in a veteran’s institution. However, this is not exactly the tone of film that he was commissioned to produce. The army wanted Huston to make a film that would “convince business owners around the country that they had nothing to fear in hiring war veterans.” Instead, Huston delves deep into the question of trauma, exploring the notion of post-traumatic stress disorder before the term existed. As Harris puts it, “Huston wanted to counteract the crime stories that seemed to be transfixing the public with a set of case studies that would be grounded in compassion.” To honestly explore this question, Huston compiled over seventy hours of footage taken during therapy sessions of the soldiers, perhaps seeking to understand or get a handle on his own latent post traumatic stress disorder in the process.

– from the upcoming book “How to Film the Truth: The Story of Documentary Film As a Spiritual Journey” to be released in the Summer of 2018 by Wipf & Stock