Connect with us

Film Reviews

‘Hand’ review: Dir. Daigo Matsui (2024)

Pinku eiga, also known as pink film, are a Japanese style of erotic thriller that can be traced back to the end of World War II, rising in prominence from the 1960s as across the seas, the US sexploitation boom blossomed. With the 1970s came the rise of the Nikkatsu Roman Porno, and to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Nikkatsu Corporation creations, the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme is bringing Matsui Daigo’s Hand to cinemas across the UK.

Adapted from Yamazaki Nao-Cola’s short story, Hand follows office worker Sawako (Akari Fukunaga) who enjoys taking discreet photos of middle-aged men and assembling them in various scrapbooks. Meanwhile at home, she struggles to maintain a good relationship with her father and helps her younger sister navigate her dating troubles. The film follows the woman’s sexual exploration of her early twenties as she repeatedly dates older men until she grows close to her co-worker Mori (Daichi Kaneko).

Channelling the sexual liberation of the sixties at its core, Hand champions female sexuality and exploration without feeling exploitative of its female lead. Sawako enjoys countless consensual sexual encounters on screen where her pleasure is not secondary to her male counterparts while highlighting the importance of communication and consent throughout. It starkly contrasts the film’s opening scenes, which show older men as beings who only approach young women – such as Sawako as she turns 20 – for sexual ends. Throughout the film, we instead see Sawako approach men for sexual gratification to satiate her own needs, a perspective so sorely needed in a modern cinema landscape often so chaste when it comes to erotic content.

Sawako poses the question, ‘Why are older men so interested in young girls?’ but Hand offers up another interesting riddle in the heart of its narrative, ‘Why does Sawako feel so drawn to older men?’ And the answer is in the relationship with her father. Interspersed between scenes of passion are awkward, pained encounters between the pair as they struggle to reach common ground. This plot thread is not explored as fully as it could be within the film, and feels incongruous next to scenes of female empowerment as it suggests Sawako’s sexual desire comes from her need to pursue a fatherly figure as her own has denied her affection, ultimately handing her decision making processes down to his actions.

Hand also follows the love story between Sawako and Mori after Mori struggles to ask Sawako out on a date one night in the office, meaning she takes the lead and initiates their relationship. Their romantic highs quickly hit dark lows as Mori reveals their seemingly loving, blooming relationship is in fact an affair, and he has chosen to marry his unseen partner instead of pursuing Sawako. The pain and rejection felt by Sawako is palpable, making their final encounter all the more heartbreaking as they fight back tears through their final farewells.

While Hand sometimes misses the mark in terms of the spectrum of female sexuality and its narrative pacing, Matsui offers a nuanced look at the often emotionally heightened, whirlwind loves and lusts of our early twenties that shape the people we become in the world of relationships.


Rebecca Sayce



Charming, scintillating, and heart-breaking, Hand offers a wide-ranging look at female sexuality and love that sometimes struggles to hit its stride.


Hand was reviewed as part of the The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme. The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2024 takes place in cinemas around the UK from 2 February – 31 March 2024For further information please head here.

Rebecca is a freelance entertainment and SEO journalist with by-lines at Metro UK, Digital Spy, and FilmHounds Magazine. An avid lover of horror TV and cinema, you can also find her talking about all things sinister and spooky at Dread Central, Ghouls Magazine and Moving Pictures Film Club.


Latest Posts


More in Film Reviews