• Hanna D The Girl From Vondel Park



    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: October 27, 2009
    Director: Rino Di Silvestro
    Cast: Ann-Gisel Glass, Donatella Damiani, Tony Serrano, Sebastiano Somma, Fausto Lombardi, Karin Schubert
    Year: 1984
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    The Movie:

    An unabashed Italian knock off of the German film Christiane F., Rino Di Silvestro’s uber-sleazy Hanna D – The Girl Rom Vondel Park relishes in the chance to exploit its beautiful lead, Ann-Gisel Glass, a remarkably beautiful woman who would wind up working almost primarily in European TV after showing up in Bruno Mattei’s Rats: Night Of Terror.

    Glass plays the titular Hanna D., a Dutch schoolgirl who, when we meet her, lives with her abusive alcoholic mother (played with remarkable authenticity by Karin Schubert) who just can’t seem to get over things when her husband wises up and splits town. Troubled by her home life and the crap she has to deal with, Hanna decides it’s time to fly the coop and so she starts out on her journey of independence which soon finds her in bed with an older man who deflowers her. Soon enough, Hanna’s puts out on the street where she winds up dealing with crazed pimps, her insane mother, territorial angry hookers and a nasty heroin habit… and of course, true love.

    This isn’t such a plot heavy film, when you think about it, rather it’s a bunch of sleazy set pieces strung together by the film’s luscious lead. Ann-Gisel Glass is pretty enough and with an innocent appeal to her that she works really well in the lead, and the camera loves her. She’s framed provocatively from the beginning and in such a way that we know pretty early on just where this young woman is headed. Though she’s initially an ‘innocent schoolgirl’ she’s lit and shot with an emphasis on her sexuality. Gisel makes for a likeable lead, as on top of her natural good looks and often times smoldering sex appeal, she’s got a bit of a girl next door charm that is actually pretty endearing. Karin Schubert steals every scene she’s in, however, playing the rampaging alcoholic mom full tilt, and all for the better.

    So yeah, this is pretty trashy stuff. Glass spends a lot of time naked, leaving little to the imagination and going full frontal more than once and sometimes for fairly prolonged periods, meaning we don’t so much get a glimpse at her goods as we simply leer at her along with the camera. There’s a lot of sex in the film and in the grand Italian exploitation tradition, it’s all pretty graphic. What really sets the film apart from the countless other sexploitation pictures made around the same time, however, is the graphic drug use. Needlephobes will squirm when Hanna starts discovering the joys of intravenous drug use and the regular scenes of injection look disturbingly real and of course it all leads up to the inevitable withdrawal scene, complete with a rather nasty clam chowder puke sequence.

    Rino Di Silvestro’s picture is rather nicely shot thanks to the efforts of Fanco Delli Cooli, the film’s director of photography. Surprisingly enough, the editing, credited to the aforementioned late, great Bruno Mattei, keeps things moving at a pretty good pace and while sometimes this comes at the cost of logic and plot, the film is never dull. Throw in a neat score from composer Luigi Ceccarelli (who worked a lot with Bruno Mattei through the eighties) and some great Amsterdam location shots and hey, wow, this one winds up a super sleazy good time.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Severin's 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer presents the film in its original aspect ratio. Color reproduction is good and while some mild grain is evident, there aren't any serious problems with print damage to complain about despite the occasional spec here and there. Flesh tones look lifelike and natural and black levels are strong though some scenes look a bit on the murky side. Detail is good in the foreground and the background and edge enhancement is held firmly in check. Overall, fans should be quite pleased with the way that the movie looks on this DVD.

    The disc comes with a Dolby Digital Mono track available in English only. There aren't any problems to report with the mix, everything sounds pretty decent here. Dialogue stays clean and clear from start to finish, the score is nice and punchy, and the levels are all properly balanced.

    The most substantial extra on the disc is a featurette entitled The Confessions Of Rino D., which is a great forty-two minute career spanning interview with the film’s late director, Rino Di Silvestro who here speaks quite openly about not only Hanna D. but about other films from his career. He talks about casting the film, about how Ann-Gisel Glass should have gone on to a bigger career than the one she wound up having, what it was like working with Karin Schubert, and about some of the film’s notably seedier elements. Throughout it all, you get the impression that Di Silvestro was a pretty nice guy, he’s just got a kindness to him that’s rather endearing and his gentle personality makes for a rather odd context to the incredibly seedy atmosphere of pretty much all of his directorial efforts.

    Aside from that, look for the film’s original theatrical trailer, animated menus, and chapter stops.

    The Final Word:

    Slick and sleazy, Hanna D gets a pretty kick ass DVD debut from Severin. The film is as stylish as it is trashy and the excellent interview with the picture’s director is the icing on the cake.