Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 22nd, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1984
Director: Axel Berger (Rino Di Silvestro)
Writers: Rino Di Silvestro, Hervé Piccini
Cast: Ann-Gisel Glass, Donatella Damiani, Tony Serrano, Sebastiano Somma, Jacques Stany, Fausto Lombardi, Karin Schubert, Omero Capanna
DVD released: October 27th, 2009
Approximate running time: 88 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: A young woman who is being raised by an alcoholic mother turns to a life of drugs and prostitution.
Hanna D: The Girl from Vondel Park was co-written and directed by Rino Di Silvestro, who has directed his fare share of exploitive films like Women in Cell Block 7, Werewolf Woman and Deported Women of the SS Special Section. The screenplay for Hanna D: The Girl from Vondel Park was co-written by Hervé Piccini whose other limited film credits include Devil Fish and Rats: Night of Terror. Hanna D: The Girl from Vondel Park was edited by Bruno Mattei who as a director has directed notoriously schlocky films like Hell of the Living Dead, Women’s Prison Massacre, True Story of the Nun of Monza, SS Girls and Zombie 3.
Is Hanna D: The Girl from Vondel Park an Italian knock off version of the similar themed German film Christiane F? On the surface it is not hard to find the similarities between the two films, with the main difference being Hanna D: The Girl from Vondel Park taking the more exploitative route of the two films. The plot for Hanna D: The Girl from Vondel Park is basically a story about a young woman named Hanna D who comes from a dysfunctional home in which her alcoholic mother has her turning tricks to help support them after Hanna’s father walked out on them. This relationship lays the groundwork for the subsequent characters that enter into Hanna’s life and just like her mother everyone in Hanna’s life uses her. That is until a chance encounter in which she meets a young man named Alex whose main objective is to help her. Trying to break free from her past proves not to be an easy task and there are many bumps along the way.
A film with as tawdry subject matter often amps everything up in hope of maximizing the overall shock value of what is on display to cover up its shortcomings. The acting in many films often takes a back seat as the films often rely so heavily on the more exploitative elements. This is where Hanna D: The Girl from Vondel Park is the most surprising as the performance from Ann-Gisel Glass who has been cast in the film’s title role of Hanna D convincingly pulls off the manic mood swings of the character. I have only seen her in one other film, Bruno Mattei’s deliriously bad Sci-Fi epic Rats Night of Terror and watching her transformation into Hanna D, was like watching another actress. Two other performances of note are Karin Schubert in the role of Hanna’s alcoholic mother and Fausto Lombardi in the role of Hanna’s pimp boyfriend.
On the production end, the film is beautifully photographed by Franco Delli Colli who does a seamless job making the Rome locations blend with the Amsterdam locations. The film also features a solid score from Luigi Ceccarelli that helps set the mood and is in line with the subject matter at hand. While focusing on the disintegration of the Hanna D character is what propels the story along. It is the redemption that she ultimately discovers which lifts this film above your typical exploitation film.
Severin Films presents Hanna D: The Girl from Vondel Park in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. This transfer was sourced for a print as the back of the DVD box proclaims “rescued from a bankruptcy auction in Rome”. The image looks clean with minimal source damage. Colors look strong and flesh tones look accurate. Details look generally crisp, contrast and black levels fare well throughout.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio is also in good shape as there are no problems with background noise or distortion. Dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and at times robust and most notably when the films score is present.
Extras for this release include an English language trailer for the film (3 minutes – anamorphic widescreen) and an extensive one on one interview with the film’s director Rino Di Silvestro titled “The Confessions of Rino Di Silvestro” (41 minutes 57 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). Throughout the interview he discusses in detail why he wrote and directed Hanna D: The Girl from Vondel Park, the difficulty finding an actress for the role of Hanna D, the inspiration behind some of the film’s more disturbing moments like putting a needle behind the ear and in the eye to cover up drug use, he also discusses other cast members in depth like Karin Schubert and what is was like collaborating with cinematographer Franco Delli Colli. These are just a few of the many topics he covers in this fascinating and insightful interview. Overall Hanna D: The Girl from Vondel Park arrives on DVD via an exceptional release from Severin Films that is highlighted by Rino Di Silvestro interview.