This film is part of Free
Among the Japanese
Upper-class Japanese ladies dress up for an open-air afternoon tea, to appreciate the shortlived cherry blossoms.
This film introduces the young women as a particular social type - 'M'lady' - as can be discerned from their clothing and coiffure. With cherry branches in hand, they stroll about a well-maintained Japanese stone garden. Their luxurious kimono is highlighted by the film’s stenciled colourisation, which involved manually cutting an area of each frame to enable tinting. The film appears designed explicitly for a middle-class female audience, addressed in an intertitle as 'dear lady'.
Hanami (flower viewing) is a Japanese traditional practice of open-air luncheon parties during the season of cherry blossoms. In Japan, the delicate beauty of cherry blossoms, usually lasting only a week or so, is considered a quintessential symbol of transience. Distinct from the previous scenes, the final, interior scene features another woman admiring elaborate ivory figurines. The footage is likely included to show she belongs to the same affluent class as the other two ladies. (Kosuke Fujiki) BFI silent film curator Bryony Dixon adds: This film may be a clip from the French cinemagazine Pathé-revue, originally titled L’Après-midi d’une japonaise.