A young woman spends an adventurous winter with a trapper on Spitsbergen.



(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Love Story (1970)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A boy and a girl from different backgrounds fall in love regardless of their upbringing - and then tragedy strikes.

Director: Arthur Hiller
Stars: Ali MacGraw, Ryan O'Neal, John Marley
Koko Flanel (1990)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Placide's dad tells him on his deathbed he'll haunt him if he doesn't find a woman soon. When he accidentally enters a photo shoot, Placide meets Sarah.

Directors: Stijn Coninx, Jef Van de Water
Stars: Urbanus, Bea Van Der Maet, Willeke van Ammelrooy
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Nick is a struggling dentist in Canada. A new neighbor moves in, and he discovers that it is Jimmy "The Tulip" Teduski. His wife convinces him to go to Chicago and inform the mob boss who wants Jimmy dead.

Director: Jonathan Lynn
Stars: Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Rosanna Arquette
Marina (2013)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The true story of Rocco Granata, an Italian coal miner's son who followed his passion for music against his father's wishes and social barriers.

Director: Stijn Coninx
Stars: Luigi Lo Cascio, Donatella Finocchiaro, Matteo Simoni
Sister Smile (2009)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A biography of the Belgian nun Jeannine Deckers, who became a popular singer in the early 1960s and struggled with the contradiction between the church and her true self.

Director: Stijn Coninx
Stars: Cécile De France, Sandrine Blancke, Chris Lomme
Samson en Gert (TV Series 1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Gert and his speaking dog Samson live together in the 'Dorpstraat 101', where they have lots of funny adventures with their friends. The tubby hairdresser Albert, the clumsy mayor and his ... See full summary »

Stars: Gert Verhulst, Danny Verbiest, Walter de Donder
Daens (1992)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In the 1890s, Father Adolf Daens goes to Aalst, a textile town where child labor is rife, pay and working conditions are horrible, the poor have no vote, and the Catholic church backs the ... See full summary »

Director: Stijn Coninx
Stars: Jan Decleir, Gérard Desarthe, Antje de Boeck
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Caro, a 9 year old girl, wants to understand the mysteries of the world around her. However, her religious education and the modern world don't always seem to make a good match.

Director: Stijn Coninx
Stars: Huub Stapel, Johanna ter Steege, Neeltje de Vree


Credited cast:
Francesca Vanthielen ...
Joachim Król ...
Rick Engelkes ...
Reidar Sørensen ...
Rodney Beddal ...
Marit Bolling ...
Morten Røhrt ...
Pilot 1
Per Skjølsvik ...
Pilot 2
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:


Trapper Lars is living on Spitsbergen, an island far north of Norway. His life consists mainly of hunting and fishing for survival. Being in peace with his environment, the sudden arrival of Ellen, a student, is quite a disturbing event. Lars, who permitted her to visit and live with him during the dark and cold winter in the first place, soon is challenged by her attraction and also by her strict will only to gain experience. The relation between the two unalike persons - who don't even have a language in common - is stressed from the beginning, and when Ragnar, another trapper, comes over, the situation is about to change. Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The only way through the darkness is together


See all certifications »



| |

Release Date:

29 January 1998 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Licht  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Hidden Gem from the Netherlands
14 June 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I first saw "When the Light Comes" on television late night movies six years ago. Due to the usual timing problems associated with the late night presentation, the ending was cut off. I waited unsuccessfully since then for this film to reappear. Apparently, it's only available on DVD as a PAL European version so I had to wait until I found a Region-free DVD player so I could see the whole movie.

I'm glad I did because the ambiguous ending minimizes the film's other imperfections. Do the ending scenes with Ellen and Lars playing snow golf show that Ellen did return to Spitzbergen to live with Lars? Did Ellen return to Robert and are the ending scenes just Ellen's happy memories? The book might provide a clue but it's never been translated to English so North Americans who don't speak Dutch are left to ponder the ambiguous ending. Maybe people from the Netherlands are also out of luck as I can't locate a Dutch version either.

The European version DVD doesn't come with English subtitles, just in Dutch or German. That's a small impediment because most of the film's dialogue is in English. In my case, I could remember the Dutch dialogue from the English subtitles in the TV version. It consists mostly of Ellen's feelings in letters to Robert, which you can sense from the action and the English portions, boring stuff for a guy. As a bonus, the European version includes the story how the movie was made. This is mostly in the Dutch language but many scenes are in English because not all the crew and actors spoke Dutch.

Some reviews of the movie commented on Francesca's lack of experience when this movie was made. I think it worked in this movie as it could be a part of Ellen's initial awkwardness at the strange situation of a young woman being cooped up for months with an older man. Joachim Król is an experienced actor. I don't know how he was able to speak English with a Norwegian accent when he sounds quite German in real life. Check out his accent in English in the Special Features.

This is not a classic movie but it is much better than average. It's well worth the effort of finding a copy.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
When the Light Comes wsa-1
Oh my God! madame_hera
Discuss When the Light Comes (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: