"You still keep my pictures, it's not that you fear to forget me. Actually you fear to remember me. "
"When I leave him"
"he gets lost"
"and he suffers dental pain"
"It is an everlasting covenant of Salt between the LORD and you and your descendants." (NUMBERS18:19)
"Abimelech captured the city, killed its people, tore it down, and covered the ground with Salt. (JUDGES 9:45)
"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again?" (MARK 9:50)
[ 沒參加 | AND SHE WASN'T ] (片名 film title) (*)
Saltie Doggie has pretty ears, pretty eyes, and pretty hands. Her nose is a little bit flat, hence SHE looks like a little girl. Saltie's hair is short, nice to touch, and her hair is a so-called Saltie Color. The word 'Saltie' means salt. In the Bible, salt means something permanent. Being named after that, 'Saltie Doggie' is a dog with a permanent life. The very trait of Saltie is on her back. Though the hair on her back is gone, Saltie Doggie is a pretty girl for me.
In winter, it hardly ever snows in Taiwan. However, it feels cold at X'mas. Once we did spend time together at X'mas. Remember? You took no pictures at that time, so I guess you don't remember.
My elder brother takes pictures too. And he always wears slippers. You and he are very much alike in some ways. You write me letters and draw me pictures, so does my brother. I like the way you do. But you two are very different in other ways. He's addicted to sweets, while you prefer a salty taste. You hate sweets as much as you hate brushing your teeth. You two are very alike, yet you two are very different too. You said you loved me. Well, as you like it. But I'm telling you, my brother loves ALL of me. If I leave you, I know you'll still be fine. If I leave my brother, he will definitely kill me.
Saltie Doggie is actually an orphan. It's possible that Saltie forgets how her Mom looks. Isn't it? Luckily for me, we're a family of three: me, my elder brother, and my Dad. Dad is hardly at home. He's an airplane technician. It was always my brother who was with me when I was little. I can't remember how Mom looks. Dad keeps her pictures, but still I can't remember her. I studied in 12 different elementary schools. When I was little at school, I did have some friends. I shared my crayons with other kids, and by doing so, I made friends. Without any friends, Saltie is left alone whenever you go out. How poor she is.
Answer me. Have you ever brushed Saltie's teeth? When anyone has tooth-aches, they can do nothing. But for me, I'd rather have serious tooth-aches than live boring days. My brother loves chocolates, and he always brushes his teeth. You hate brushing your teeth, no wonder you go to the dentist so often. When we were together, actually for me you were like a handy toothbrush. You'll never understand how important a toothbrush can be for me. It saves me from aches. No more aches, then no more boring days. I loved you as I loved toothbrushes. Toothbrushes are so colorful, and so were you. When I'm in love, I do love. When I'm not, I just cannot help it. Rivers do curve, so does love somewhere. Phone calls do finish, so does love sometimes. And all toothbrushes are labeled with prices, somehow.
We used to go out on the beach, though I didn't know what you really wanted to do. You might want to collect things, but why did you take me with you? I just want to ask, but do not really want to know. In fact it's your own business, and has nothing to do with me. The only thing I care most about is to go for a walk. As many others do, I love the sea most. Walking on the beach is my favorite. It doesn't matter if you hold my hands or not. That's not important anyway, just let me go for a walk.
My brother is brighter than anyone else. He treats me most nicely. He teaches me jigsaw-puzzles and drawing. He makes up fairy-tales for me. Our family kept moving, so did my brother. Once when I was little, my brother didn't let me go to school. I tried hard to go, and then he ran after me with a knife. Dad was furious, and tried everything to stop him. Finally, he bribed him with chocolates. I suppose my brother loves me most. Dad loves me too. Their love is different in some ways. Definitely I'm more scared of my brother. Scared to death. But I do know he loves me more than anyone else on earth.
You always wanted me and my photos. Sometimes I'd give you them. But who do you think I really am? Am I the one that you know? Or the ONES in the photos? Me, me in the photos, me in the video tapes, which would you take if you could only choose one of them? Don't show me my pictures and video tapes. How weird they are. The images in them look like me, but they are not me. Though my brother is different from you in other ways, you two are very much alike in some ways. My brother takes pictures when he is happy and when he is sad. He even takes pictures when he is angry. He takes pictures while loving me, and while beating me.
When my brother is away, I feel quite lonely and miss him a lot. Thinking of him, I feel much blessed and tend to forgive anyone on earth. Sometimes I miss Mom too. I wonder if Mom's world is sunny or not? Does it snow? Does the sun give Mom light and shadows too?
I'm so confused. What do you really mean by saying 'important'? For me, keys are important. Money is too. So is salt, and so is food. They are necessary, and people cannot do without them. Slippers could be too, But am I really important to you? Could you really not live without me? It's nonsense if you don't mean it. You see, Saltie's hair on her back is gone. To her, I say clothes are important. Without clothes in winter, she might catch cold and die.
You kept showing me my photos and video tapes, and I couldn't stand that anymore. I told you how weird they are and how I hated them. The one in the photos looks like me, but it is not me. When my brother shows me the photos, I am scared. If I don't wanna see them, he'll beat me and yell at me. He is serious. You won't do anything. Instead, you'll just let me go. You mean to do that out of kindness. Everyone does. But for me, such kindness is too casual to be true.
My brother always wears slippers like you do. You two draw pictures in the same way. You two take pictures all the time. My brother takes pictures when he is sad and when he is angry, also when he is happy. He takes pictures while beating me, and while loving me. My brother is serious to love me most. The way he loves me is beyond you. You think you're nice to me ? No. You're too casual to be. Everyone claims to be nice to kittens and puppies. Be honest, and you'll know your love is not really serious. I don't care for such careless love, since I'd get it anywhere and anytime. So why should I fall in love with YOU? It makes no difference from falling in love with anyone else.
My brother loves me. My Dad loves me. Mom loves me too, I believe. I know their love for me is not exactly the same, but their love is different from your casual love. Mom has been gone since I was little. Our family kept moving, 'cause Dad is an airplane technician. Usually we stayed in one place in the summer, and then moved in winter. I can't remember how Mom looks. Dad does keep her pictures, but I still can't remember her. It's weird. You and Dad are very much alike in keeping pictures. I'm serious. You still keep my pictures, it's not that you fear to forget me. Actually you fear to remember me. You see?
The word 'Saltie' means salt. In the Bible, Salt means something permanent. Saltie's hair on her back is gone. That used to be her very trait, but it is not the case now. She has become permanent. Saltie Doggie has become Saltie. Answer me. Do I look like who I am? Do my photos look like what I am? Does Saltie in the bottle look like Saltie? I just want to ask, but do not really want to know. However I feel that for you, Saltie is the most important, so you don't treat HER as a dog. A lover is the most important, so you don't treat a lover as a person. Saltie and I have finished bathing. Saltie Doggie is a pretty girl, and I wanna hold her hands to go for a walk on the beach together. ( subtitles by Asio Liu Chi-Hsiung. translated by Ching-Hiang Lo and revised by James D. Uchniat )
(*) "AND SHE WASN'T" , 2001 | 16mm, 33' | dir: Asio Liu & Awei Liu | music: XB, FISH, Huang Yi-Chin, XB, TUNEVOLT & Hsiao Ho (Crystal Records) | Taiwan | 2001 Sundance film fest Shorts Program | Best Experimental Film in 2001 Taipei Film Festival | "沒參加" | 導演: 劉吉雄、劉建偉 | 編劇: 劉吉雄 | 攝影: 劉建偉 | 音樂: 小寶、FISH、黃一晉、伏特音 、蕭荷 （水晶唱片） | www.mimeofilms.com | www.mimeo.org | vimeo | pix | OST