Hanna D. – La ragazza del Vondel Park (1984)

 

SYNOPSIS:

Hanna is a girl completely abandoned to herself, is not at all inhibited sexually, and is attracted to the attention of unscrupulous people like Miguel, who takes advantage of Hanna, turning her to prostitution to obtain her drug fix. Until she meets Alex, a young man with a sincere affection for Hanna…”

REVIEW:

This is the story of Hanna, a girl living in Amsterdam. Her parents have split, her mother is a drunk with a younger boyfriend (who would much rather sleep with Hanna).

Many of her friends are junkies and worse.

Hanna gets money by letting people see her naked.

Eventually her home life goes from dysfunctional to destructive and Hanna needs to escape.

She begins to use heroine and eventually takes up with a guy who pimps her out.

As her life begins to slide she meets a nice young man who falls in love with her and she tries to get clean.

However her old life is still lurking out there.

This film directed by master filmmaker of exploitation Rino Di Silvestro (Using the pseudonym of Axel Berger), is a masterpiece in exploitation cinema.

Originally shot in Italian, when I first saw the film back in ’84, I watched it as a very badly dubbed English version, which seemed silly (although the film itself was still remarkable).

I have only recently seen the film in it’s native Italian tongue, and it is far more effective, and I think this may be the reason that people have panned this film as a dud over the years (never managing to see it in Italian).

Beautifully shot, and excellently acted, Hanna D. is a film which is shocking, perverse, and hard-hitting.

Many people have claimed that it was made most likely to cash in on the popularity of the very similar German film “Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo“, yet I disagree – Hanna D. is a nastier and grittier film all-in-all and it does not hold back on the extremities of prostitution, pornography, nudity or drug abuse among young people.

Where Christiane F. was set in Bahnhof Zoo in Germany, Hanna D. is focused in and around Vondelpark in Amsterdam (which back in ’84 was a huge drug related area).

At the forefront of the film is the very beautiful Ann-Gisel Glass in the title-role of Hanna D.  Ann is a French actress who had only appeared in a few things prior to this film (and not too many after it, except for some obscure TV movies, and some low-budget foreign dramas etc). She did, however, appear in “Rats: a Night of Terror” directed by the fantastic Bruno Mattei (directing as Vincent Dawn).

It is because of Ann’s wonderful and very gutsy portrayal of Hanna that this film succeeds, and because it has nostalgic value for me – I saw it when it was released on VHS back in 84, and loved it so much I ended up purchasing it from the Video Store!

The flick also stars Karin Schubert as Hanna’s mother, in a very over-the-top alcoholic role, which is incredibly funny, and quite moving at the same time.

The depictions of drug abuse in this film are graphic, as is the sex scenes, but there are also elements of pure romance in this film which are beautiful, and very well handled by Rino Di Silvestro with all of his directing powers.

Sadly, Rino passed away in 2007, at the age of 77. There is an extremely lengthy  interview with the master on the uncut Severin Films release of the DVD, entitled “Confessions Of Rino D. – Interview with Director Rino Di Silvestro”.

ALSO: the music in this film is top-notch Italian exploitation, lots of keyboards, synths, cheesy love-songs to boot. I wish someone would tell me who sings the main song in it, I have been looking for it since 1984!

Do yourselves a favor, for the love of all that may be holy, pick yourself up a copy of this, sit down with some popcorn, a beer, or whatever tickles your fancy and enjoy a fantastic film by a truly masterful director of Exploitation cinema.

RATING:

9 out of 10 – Damn near perfect!

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