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Let There Be Light / Nech je svetlo (2019)

Drama, Thriller 1h 33m 2019


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Good-natured and hard-working father of three Milan spends long periods away from his Slovak home and family as a guest worker in Germany. This is the cause of some friction between him and wife Zuzka, who runs a domestic cheese-making business to help make ends meet. Returning home for Christmas, Milan hopes for a season of peace and goodwill. He’s liberal-minded, anxious not to inflict on his offspring the severity of his own upbringing at the hands of a tyrannical father, but when he learns that his eldest son Adam has been associating with ‘The Guard’, a hard-right paramilitary group implicated in the suicide of a local schoolboy, an unacknowledged (if hinted at) accumulation of anger is unleashed. At a loss to understand why his son has so disastrously gone off the rails, he rashly takes matters into his own hands.

The official Slovakian nomination to the Oscars in 2020, Marko Škop’s sophomore feature is a beautifully lean and purposeful psycho-drama delivering an incisive critique of failing fatherhood, drip-fed mounting tension and moments of intense action, as we observe the devastating effect on Milan as he uncovers the ugly truths at the heart of his community. This small rural Slovakian town is by implication a perfect petri dish for the growth of obnoxious sub-cultures, the dogmatic entrenchment of hard-line Catholicism and casual corruption amongst officials and the police. Lead actor Milan Ondrík is excellent as the initially breezy father who is faced with excruciating moral dilemmas and discovers that, other than from his immediate family, he can expect little support from the locals. The film is admirably economic in style (every word of dialogue counts, no music), consistently gripping and the subtleties of Ondrík’s performance come over powerfully on a small screen.

Let There Be Light is winner of nine international film festival prizes, including the Best Actor Award for Milan Ondrík at the 2019 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and the CEI Award for Best Film at the 2020 Trieste Film Festival.

“Škop´s latest drama is a meticulously crafted piece of realist cinema where the writer-director takes on a complex topic” - Martin Kudlac, Screen Anarchy.

“Set against a perpetually snowy background the film paces itself perfectly with a gathering sense of an impending implosion.” - Richard Mowe, Eye For Film.

“The understated ending is effectively spine-chilling.” - Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter.


Milan Ondrík, Frantisek Beles, Zuzana Konecná, Lubomír Paulovic, Daniel Fischer


Marko Škop


Marko Škop


Frantisek Krähenbiel


Zuzana Liová


Ján Meliš


Slovak, German




Slovakia, Czech Republic

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