IF YOU SWALLOW A NAIL, JUST DRINK SOME ALCOHOL
DING ZI HE JIU
2019, Chine, 62′
'If You Swallow a Nail, Just Drink Some Alcohol' documents a married couple, who have lived together for 60 years, communicating and living with each other while grappling with Alzheimer’s and hearing loss.
In the film, the grandmother keeps offering, while the granddaughter (as the director) keeps declining her offers; the granddaughter wants to know her grandfather better, but is responded to with silence. The three of them try communicating with each other, yet all fail due to the powerlessness of language.
The film also documents slices of their life together that reflects their working class background: the grandmother collects cans and paper cupboard in exchange for money; the grandfather cuts a melon into the smallest pieces so he can finish all the fruit. These details reveal the nuanced connections of the trio during a summer spent together. The pain of communication are revealed and resolved, captured through the camera’s lens.