This summer, the cinephiles of Greensboro may find film heaven in an unlikely place- the downtown Greensboro Public Library. On Friday, June 29, the Greensboro Public Library held a free screening of the documentary film “Mad Tiger”. The film was a part of the Meet, Mix and Mingle summer film series, and follows the Japanese punk band Peelander-Z as they deal with the fallout of a member leaving the band.
Headed by former UNCG student Ronald Headen and Beth Sheffield, the Meet, Mix and Mingle summer film series places “major focus” on foreign filmmaking. The series will run from June to September. Headen said he was inspired to start the program due to the surprising demand for films involving foreign characters such as “Life of Pi” and the mega-hit blockbuster “Black Panther”, which set a record for orders at the library.
“Now that Blockbuster is gone, the library has become the new Blockbuster!” says Headen. With a large catalog of films available to check out, the public library has indeed become a hub for physically renting and browsing movies in Greensboro. “We do it all for the community,” said Sheffield. “We want this to be everybody’s library.”
The event took place inside a sizeable screening room with chairs set up to invoke the feeling of being in a movie theatre. Although slightly makeshift, the feeling of cinema was definitely in the air. Refreshments such as soda and water were offered as showtime approached, and the lights dimmed as the feature began.
The documentary opens with a profile shot of band leader Peelander Yellow explaining that Peelander-Z are aliens and that if you are unfortunate enough to have never heard of them that he will kill you. He then goes on to ask the audience to smile because he eats smiles.
Consisting of members Peelander Yellow, Red, Pink and Green, the band describes themselves as a punk-rock comedy action act. All four members are from Japan but did not actually meet until they were all living in New York City in the late ‘90s. Another important fact about Peelander-Z is that they all graduated from Ninja Highschool and are avid practitioners of the art of stealth with strobe lights on their heads.
The documentary follows the band as they finish out a run of US shows. The tour ended when Peelander Red left the band to pursue his dream of owning his own venue. His final show is a touching tribute to his career as a punk rock space invader, and he ends the show by changing his hair color from red to white.
The rest of the film deals with the band trying to fill the position left by Red, and they end up recruiting a new member- the hefty bass guitarist Peelander Purple. Although the band masquerades as smile eating aliens, the documentary does a great job of humanizing each member and showing that even aliens feel jealousy, anger and hope.
“Mad Tiger” was an insightful journey into the weird wide world of the Japanese music industry which, at its core, is both comedic and melancholy. This zany documentary is available to check out at the Greensboro Public Library along with scores of other fantastic foreign films to fill your summer with.
The library will be hosting more screenings this summer with the Meet, Mix and Mingle series, and will even be working with UNCG later this year to screen films such as “2001: A Space Odyssey.” So if you want to beat the heat, the library may be the place to grab some friends, grab a cool drink and watch a movie indoors.