• Kyodo

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Closely tied to the Asian continent due its location, the southwestern city of Fukuoka has collected films made by Asian directors over the past 20 years and now boasts some 500 titles.

The municipal government, which has organized numerous events like the annual Focus on Asia Fukuoka International Film Festival, started collecting Asian films to prevent them from being lost to the ravages of time.

The Fukuoka City Public Library in Sawara Ward now possesses some 1,000 films from around the world, half of which are from about 30 countries and regions in Asia, including India, Iran, China and South Korea.

On the shelves are autographs of famous directors including Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien, whose works include “A Summer at Grandpa’s.”

Prasanna Vithanage, a Sri Lankan director known for such films as “Flowers of the Sky,” was surprised to find most of his works at the library and said, “It’s a great honor and it’s my pleasure,” according to a library official.

The oldest item in the collection is a 120-year-old silent movie by the Lumiere brothers, Auguste and Louis, the earliest filmmakers in history.

“If we keep them appropriately, films can last for about 500 years,” said Yoshiyuki Yahiro, a 54-year-old curator at the library.

The full list of Asian films preserved in the Fukuoka City Public Library Film Archive can be seen in English at www.cinela.com/english/ .

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