The Film (4/5)
Hanna D. the Girl from Vondel Park is one seriously messed up movie. I mean that in the best way possible. It is sleazy, dirty, at times hard to watch. It's one of those movies that makes you want to take a shower after seeing it. This movie is hardcore, and I don't mean it in a porno way, I mean this one goes all the way. I would go so far as to call Hanna D. the Cannibal Holocaust of the sleaze genre.
Hanna D. is an Italian knock off of the film Christiane F. and there are a lot of similarities from the plot straight to the bad dubbing. However, Hanna D. does not feel like a cheap Italian clone of another movie, and it does indeed stand on it's own. This can possibly be attributed to the fact that the film is out to (and succeeds) in shocking the viewer about once every 5 minutes, so you don't really have time to focus on the similarities.
Hanna D. the Girl from Vondel Park tells the story of the eponymous Hanna D. (Ann Gisel-Glass) a young girl raised by an alcoholic needy junkie of a Mother(Karin Schubert). Hanna fed up with her Mother's ways decides to leave the nest, and gain her independence. She finds this independence in the arms of a man, who sleeps with her, gets her hooked on smack, and puts her out on the street as a prostitute.
This is not a subtle film, it is not a gradual descent for Hanna. This film is like a brick to the face, things get bad, and they stay bad. That is until Hanna meets her true love, who like a knight in shining armor will help her get out of the life she has been leading, and he will do this to the tune of some bad over dramatic pop song that I believe is called “Forever Young”(no relation to the similarly bad Rod Stewart song).
The film is anchored by the excellent performance of Hanna by Ann Gisel-Glass. She has the right innocent look, and even through the bad dubbing her performance stands out. If Hanna was played by a lesser actress the whole thing would have simply devolved into a cheap sleaze film. Having said that do not go into Hanna D. expecting high drama. This is a sleaze film, and it wears it's sleaziness on it's snot-covered sleeve. It is a film that has 2 things going for it an interesting lead character, and plenty of shocking moments, and with Hanna D. both of these come together to create a compelling piece of cinematic nastiness.
Severin Films has presented Hanna D. with a 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The transfer itself is of a very high quality. The colors really pop, and there isn't much in the way of grain or scratching to speak of. It's not perfect, but it is probably the best this film has ever looked.
Hanna D. is presented a Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track. It is clear, loud, and quite effective. The dialogue comes through crisp, and there's no noticable grain, or noise to speak of. I would normally complaining about the badness of the dubbing here, however, Hanna D. is an Italian film from the 80's, and like many films of the era was probably shot without recorded sound, so dubbing in this case is the norm.
Severin's DVD of Hanna D. is light on the extras, but what is on here is excellent. The main supplement on this set is called The Confessions of Rino D., a 42 minute interview with Hanna D./Werewolf Woman director Rino Di Silvestro. This interview was recorded mere months before his death of cancer in 2009. It covers his career, and goes into a lot of detail about Hanna D. The only other extra on the disc is the films theatrical trailer.
If you are looking for a really messed up sleazy film, then with Hanna D. you've got it. I can't recommended it to everyone, only the most hardcore cinemaphiles with stomachs of iron should apply. No joke, this is a hard film to watch, and has many scenes that many would find disturbing. It is a very compelling film, that is anchored by an excellent lead actress. The DVD looks great, and sounds clear. The only real extra to speak of is an interview with the director of the film, but it is an excellent career spanning interview that goes into depth about the production of Hanna D. Overall, I would say this film is highly recommended for those who would seek it out.