Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hanna D. - The Girl from Vondel Park (Rino Di Silvestro, 1984)

I'm no junkie, but I don't think it's safe to inject heroin directly into your eye. Hell, I don't think it's safe to inject heroin into half the places it's shot into in Hanna D. - The Girl from Vondel Park (Hanna D. - La Ragazza del Vondel Park), the grittiest film about drug-addled teen prostitutes to ever find its way onto the polluted, dingy as fuck shoreline that is my perverted mind. Even though needles filled with heroin are inexplicably crammed into every orifice imaginable, I'm not going to be one of those non-Italians assholes who sits on their throne of smugness picking apart Italian cinema like it were some sort of ill-conceived game. My aura, much like this film's protagonist, needs sleaze to survive. And, I must say, the film, written and directed by Rino Di Silvestro (Werewolf Woman) and edited by none other than Bruno Mattei (Hell of the Living Dead), delivers so much sleaze, that needed to stop the film every so often to catch my breath. Based the, I don't think this movie is based on a novel. All right, how 'bout this: A loose collection of thoughts and ideas that were floating around inside the heads of Rino Di Silvestro and Hervé Piccini, the downward spiral the titular character takes will shake you to your very core. Yet, at the same time, it will also cause your genitals to become engorged with blood. And depending on the genital model you received when you were born, you might feel as if someone has shoved a small stick, or a large branch (I don't want to discriminate), down your pants. What you do with the frightfully hard appendage languishing in your trousers as a direct result of watching this awe-inspiring slab of cinema is completely up to you (it's one of the few freedoms we have left in this increasingly fascist society). But the fact that you're able to contemplate such a decision with any semblance of poise or dignity is the biggest complement you can give an Italian made, Amsterdam set exploitation film.
Most films, depending on their fetishistic girth, will induce you to plunge one, or both (I don't want to discriminate), of your hands down your pants almost immediately (no plunging necessary for all you sweatpants enthusiasts out there out in Slackistan - that's funny. no, not the "Slackistan" bit -- that was stupid -- you rarely ever see the words "sweatpants" and "enthusiast" used in the same sentence). In fact, most, films, that is, are designed to promote hand plunging during the actual film (no waiting required, plunge at will). But not this film, it drags you through so much muck, that you'll want to take a shower (a sort of upright bath) before you think about plunging your hand(s) down anything.  
Quick question: Shouldn't it be "Sweatpantsistan"? Sweat what? I don't think so. But they're not wearing slacks, they're wearing sweatpants. Hence, Sweatpantsistan. Oh, I see. No, it's called "Slackistan" because they're slackers. I don't get it. You see, people who wear sweatpants in a non-athletic environment are often seen as lazy. And slacker is just another word for lazy.  And "Slackistan" sort of sounds like Pakistan, and therein lies the humour. Whatever. It's still stupid. 
You would think, from the way I'm describing it, that there wouldn't be much leeway in this film when it comes to plunging hands into arenas that once boasted slumbering genitals. Oh, really, I say sheepishly to myself, knowing full well that my memory bank contains many images that contradict the crux of the writer's opening salvo. Wait a second, I need a hit of oxygen.
I have fifteen words for you: Prostitutes fighting one another in naturally inclement weather while wearing heels, stockings and fur coats. Are you sure that's fifteen words? Who gives a flying fuck? Did you see the words I just typed?
Look them over carefully. Study them. Read them aloud if you have to. It's what awesome looks it.
Just the mere fact that the weather was naturally inclement was enough to make me employ three celebratory fist pumps in quick succession. Really? The weather made you do that? It's not just weather, it's naturally inclement weather. Oh, yes, there's a difference. One of my biggest pet peeves about movies is how phony the weather is. Nothing annoys me more than the over the top rainfall used in most movies. And, believe me, I've seen a lot of fake rain over the years. However, on that rare occasion when I do spot inclement weather that seems to be occurring naturally the way nature intended, I get excited. And in Hanna D - The Girl from Vondel Park, the weather is naturally inclement as all get out. 
In order to make Hanna D. - The Girl from Vondel Park seem more like Christiane F. - We Children from Bahnhoff Zoo, the film starts off in a train station. But that's where the similarities end. Wearing a saucy beret, a grey skirt, and white knee socks, Hanna Daniels (Ann-Gisel Glass), or "Hanna D.," is innocence personified. Or is she? Aboard a train docked, or are they parked? Whatever. Aboard a train in Amsterdam, it would seem that Hanna D. is a prostitute and the train she's on is a kind of makeshift brothel.
Ushering tricks into her rail car by her kindly pimp (he winks at her to reassure her every so often), Hanna D. does the naive schoolgirl routine for a wide array of perverts and lowlifes. Entering her rail car on this occasion is Nikolai (who is not played by James Garner), a man who wants to explore the subtle peaks and valleys of Hanna D.'s undercarriage, which are currently being suffocated by a wispy pair of white panties.
Sitting with her legs crossed while reading a comic book, Hanna D. teases Nikolai by slowly uncrossing them. In doing so, she reveals a hint of her panties. Unbuttoning her shirt while Nikolai's focus is primarily on her crotch, Hanna D. gently caresses her boyish nipples with her fingers. After all he's been put through, you'll be surprised to learn that Nikolai doesn't want to have sex with Hanna D. Actually, he probably wants to, it's just that he doesn't...have sex with her. Anyway, as her next client is being brought into her rail car, Hanna D. grabs a doll from her bag and starts to play with it. Like I said, the naive schoolgirl routine is her stock and trade.
Why does Hanna D. have to work as a prostitute, you ask? Well, don't look now, but we're soon going to find out. She's blonde, she's shapely, and she's an alcoholic. Meet Hanna D.'s mother, Pearl (Karin Schubert), the most erratic parent or guardian this side of Utrecht. Drinking alone in her white fur robe after being ditched by her in-house boy-toy Hans (Hanna D. gives Hans - who Pearl calls a "clap-giver" - an upskirt peepshow on the stairs as he's on his way out), Pearl welcomes Hanna D. home with a nonsensical helping of verbal diarrhea and milfy staggering.
Since Hanna D. can't eat milfy staggering for dinner, she takes a shower while Pearl complains to herself in the mirror. Admiring the exquisite lumpiness of her robust body, yet bemoaning its very lumpiness simultaneously, Pearl is, to put it mildly, a mess.  
With so much domestic distress, it's no wonder Hanna D. turns to the dark side. And where is this dark side, exactly? Just follow the trail of used syringes and broken dreams. In a dilapidated building on the outskirts of town, we meet, oh, let's call him, Peter (Fausto Lombardi), because he reminded me of Peter Weller, a drug dealer, as he's giving a customer a free sample of his latest product. As he sends the junkie packing, he says to her, "Have a good trip..." but mumbles to himself "to Hell." I thought this scene was quite telling, as it implies that the drug dealers are fully aware that the drugs they sell are bad. You thought that was telling, eh? Well, aren't you special.
It's funny that you should mock my specialness, as am I about to be rewarded with one of the most lopsided hooker brawls in film history. On top of being lopsided, the sequence where a tarted up Hanna D. takes on four of her fellow streetwalkers (one of them played the bellissimo Donatella Damiani) is a lingerie bonanza. Boasting stockings, animal print dresses, leather, garter belts, and furs (all supplied, according to the credits, by Francesco Casini), everything about this scene is sexy. And get this, the scene even makes an allusion to spaghetti westerns at one point (the camera shoots between Donatella's legs as if it a wild west showdown). Except instead of cowboys, we get to see a bunch of fur-draped floozies square off against one another. 
Four leggy whores vs. Hanna D. (whose legginess has increased tenfold since ditching the schoolgirl look). Yikes. I don't like her chances. Luckily, a guy named Miguel (Tony Serrano) shows up on his Honda motorcycle just in time and drives her to safety. Oh, and the reason the four hookers had a beef with Hanna D. was because they didn't like the fact that she was honing in on their territory.
You have to ask yourself, what did Miguel rescue Hanna D. from exactly? I mean, she still has to deal with her insane mother. Upset that she rejected Hans' late night advances, which caused him to eventually leave, Pearl and Hanna D. get in an argument. One that leads to my favourite line, "I'm nobody's pussycat!" Which Hanna D. utters before a slap hug. "Pussycat" is what her mother calls her and a "slap hug" is when you slap someone in the face and then immediately hug them after you have slapped them.
Either way, being called "pussycat" every now and then and getting slap hugged sounds like a picnic compared to what Miguel is about to put her through. Convincing her to let him be her "manager," Miguel has big plans for Hanna D., and I don't think he only wants what's best for her.
Oatmeal-quality vomit, inhalant abuse (huff that tool shed gas, you underage whore), syringes jabbed into her head, mouth and eyes, jail time, rectal heroin smuggling (I want to lick that hairy...shut your mouth...I'm just talking about placing my tongue on the unkempt asshole attached to a curly-haired Italian women), faucet fellatio, more slap hugs than Mommie Dearest, ferry rides with authentic-looking punks, red stockings seen both at night and during the day, and a romantic montage that will no doubt cause your spirit to soar, the amount of crap Hanna D. puts up with in this movie will make your stomach feel queasy by the time it's over. That is, if you have an aversion to things that are inherently super-terrific. And the last I checked, I don't...have an aversion to things that are...well, you get the idea.
Featuring two of the stars of Rats: Night of Terror (Ann-Gisel Glass - who played the hysteria prone "Myrna" - and Fausto Lombardi), the composer of Rats (Luigi Ceccarelli), the cinematographer of  Rats (Franco Delli Colli), and the director of Rats (Bruno Mattei, like I said before, is the film's editor), Rino de Silvestro's version of Christiane F. is the sleaziest slice of  garter belt adjacent gimcrackery to hit me in the face in donkey's years. In other words, it has restored my faith in cinema. If only every film I watched had a similar, more single-minded approach to delivering "the sexy," life would be so much easier.
Oh, and the reason Karin Schubert's performance was so intense in terms of uncut meshugganah was because her voice was dubbed by none other than the late great Carolyn De Fonseca. Whenever I'm watching an Italian exploitation film that's been dubbed into English and I hear Carolyn's distinctive voice coming from one of the characters, I know I'm in goods hands.

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Happy third anniversary to Cinema Gonzo, the premiere movie blog for reviews of films such as: Tainted Image, Out of Bounds, and Satan's Blade.


  1. Yeah. I'm just going to pass on this one. I shouldn't be talking about this online. But my friend's addiction and death was tough. I still miss her a lot.

    I'll probably watch "Christiane F." someday soon. It looks very good. "Hanna D." seems to be focused on the sleaze. I dunno. Not feeling that in this context.

  2. Thanks. You are the king supreme of taint mountain.

    I'm gonna finally watch this before I read the review.

  3. @ido: Yeah, I'd put Christiane F. in the serious drama section (or, in my case, the emerging adulthood section), and put Hanna D. in the exploitation section.

    @T-D: Note to self: Ask my cable provider to show The Taint. ;)

    Or better yet, show up outside their HQ carrying a large sign that says, "We want The Taint!" in big pink letters.

    Go forth, young fancy lad, and get your sleaze on.

  4. Good god, you are actually going to watch "Cabin Boy." Or have already watched it. Then again, its probably just mildly annoying or just sort of stupid compared to some really horrid films. I won't even utter the names of such abominations in this safe and caring space.

    By the way, ever get a chance to watch "Makai Tensho"?

  5. "These Pipes... Are Clean!"

    Whenever a movie that features a six-armed Ann Magnuson with blue skin calls me collect, I always except the charges. :D

    I saw my local retailer put in an order for the early 80s Sonny Chiba flick you speak of. But that was months ago. I might have to bring it up again; the same goes for The Great Silence.

    I did watch Gate of Flesh recently. I'm not reviewing it, but I did enjoy it immensely.

  6. "I'm no junkie, but I don't think it's safe to inject heroin directly into your eye" - LMAO!!