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Girl From Cortina, The 
Written by: on December 3rd, 2010

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1994
Director: Maurizio Vanni
Writers: Luciano Martino, Maurizio Rasio, Piero Regnoli
Cast: Vanessa Gravina, Isabel Russinova, Stefano Abbati, Paolo Calissano, Alessandro Ragazzini, Manuela Lanternino, Renato Merlino, Lorenzo Flaherty

DVD released: December 14th, 2010
Approximate running time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Italian
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Mya Communication
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95

Synopsis: Desperate to escape her abusive husband. A woman fakes her own death and seeks refugee in a place from her childhood.

The Girl From Cortina was produced by Sergio Martino (The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh). The screenplay for The Girl From Cortina was adapted from a story written by Luciano Martino (The Virgin, the Bull and the Capricorn). The screenplay was co-written by Piero Regnoli a prolific screenwriter, who is most known for directing the film The Playgirls and the Vampires. The Girl From Cortina was directed by a first time director Maurizio Vanni (his only film as a director to date). And while the overall quality of the production is very good, especially the fluid camera work. A lot of this may have to do less with the director and more to the fact that three frequent collaborators of Sergio Martino worked on this film, cinematographer Giancarlo Ferrando, editor Eugenio Alabiso and composer Luciano Michelini.

This is a latter day Italian thriller that is far removed from the archetypal black gloved killer that became synonymous with the Italian thrillers of the 1970’s and 1980’s. This film relies more on atmosphere and not so much on operatic deaths. In fact there is only one corpse in this film. Also besides being almost bloodless. This film is also very tame when it comes to more erotic content. With nothing more than a few breasts being exposed.

At the heart of this film is a story about a young woman named Mara, who fakes her own death to get away from her abusive husband. Now free from her husband. She tries to recapture the happiness that has eluded since the day her parents died in a car accident. So she goes to the vacation home that she stayed out as child with her parents. Shortly after her arrival at the vacation home she meets a exhibitionist couple who befriends her. Another character that is introduced into the story is a man who saves Mara’s life one day while she was hiking. These new friendships eventually clash as they all vie for Mara’s attention. Unfortunately her new found happiness is short lived. When her husband reappears in her life.

Performance wise the majority of the cast are merely adequate in their respective roles. With the only performance leaving any lasting impression being Vanessa Gravina in the role of Mara. So much of the film relies on her characters point of view. She gives a convincing performance of a character who is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  As mentioned before this is not your atypical Italian thriller. With the bulk of the film steeped deep in melodrama. This is not to say that there is no tension. The film does a good job building tension via flashbacks, nightmares and misdirection of characters real motives.

The DVD:

The Girl From Cortina is presented in a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. Colors and flesh tones look accurate. Black Levels fare well, details generally look crisp and the image remains stable throughout. Edge enhancement while present it is never to excessive.

This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Italian. The audio is in very good shape as everything sound balanced and clear throughout. Removable English subtitles that are easy to follow have been included with this release. It should be noted that the subtitles have some grammatical errors.

Extras for this release are limited to a gallery of stills. Overall The Girl From Cortina gets a good audio / video presentation from Mya Communication.

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