Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Asian Cinema invades Europe at the Far East Film Festival 17

April 26, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Places, Traveling

Joe Hisaishi and the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra performed some of his best-known film scores, including music from Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.

For 10 days every spring, Teatro Nuovo Giovanni Da Udine is taken over by lovers of Asian film from all over Europe.

Jackie Chan opened the 17th edition of Far East Film Festival with his martial arts epic, Dragon Blade.

Here’s the audience going nuts for Jackie Chan.

Anne Curtis and Chris Martinez, star and writer-director of The Gifted, introduce their film to an appreciative crowd. The Filipino population of the Friuli region and Milan were on hand to support their kababayan.

Read our report, coming up at

What we would be doing at home in Makati: Watching movies, reading, writing, talking to friends, serving feline overlords.

What we’ve been doing in Italy: Watching movies, reading, writing, talking to the other guests. Have not seen any cats, but at the bookstore there’s an entire shelf devoted to books about cats. None of them in English, unfortunately.

Today’s schedule:
1100 Press conferences
1350 The Tragedy of Bushido (restored Japanese 60s classic)
1515 Kabukicho Love Hotel (Japan)
1745 The Royal Tailor (South Korea)
2010 Kung Fu Jungle (HK/China)

We’re in Udine till Tuesday, then taking the train to Vienna. Anyone wants to go to the opera in Vienna, let us know.

We are now flying through the Gum Nebula.

April 24, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Science

Save your money, we’re going to space. These images of the Gum Nebula, taken by the Hubble telescope, were presented on its 25th anniversary.

The Jinx is the creepiest TV show we’ve seen this year, and it’s a documentary.

April 24, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Crime, Current Events, Monsters, Television

A dismembered body is discovered in Galveston, Texas, wrapped in trash bags. It is missing a head. The dead person is identified as Morris Black, resident of a run-down boarding house. Police find clues in the trash bags and blood in the house. They arrest Black’s neighbor, a middle-aged mute woman named Dorothy Ciner. Who, it turns out, is neither mute nor a woman.

Why was Robert Durst, scion of a New York real estate empire, living in a crummy boarding house pretending to be a mute woman? It was not the first time he was in such close proximity to a corpse. Twenty years earlier his young wife Kathie, a medical student, disappeared and was never seen again. Ten years earlier his best friend Susan Berman was shot dead in her house in Beverly Hills. In both cases Durst had not been treated as a suspect.

Read our TV column The Binge at BusinessWorld.

Airport accounting: NAIA 3

April 23, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Places, Traveling

In Frankfurt airport. The temperature outside is 36 degrees…Fahrenheit. Sweater weather. Yesterday we were in NAIA Terminal 3, sweltering. NAIA 3 is not bad, but they really need to turn up the airconditioning because even we natives are melting. Yes, it’s the fault of climate change, but humans have invented airconditioning and our airports get maximum use. And they need more toilets because the toilet nearest our boarding gate was a 7-minute trudge away in the vaporizing heat.

Where our day went:

Trip by car from Makati to NAIA 3 at 11am usually takes 10-15 minutes but in heavy traffic: 38 minutes

Check-in, despite fairly short queues and Internet check-in option (with side trip to pay travel tax because ticket purchased in Europe): 52 minutes

Passport control (Terminal fee was waived): 5 minutes

Security check and X-ray at boarding gates: 3 minutes

Trudge to bathroom: 7 minutes

Queue for toilet: 5 minutes

Boarding for Singapore Airlines: On time

Departure: Delayed for 30 minutes, presumably due to runway traffic

Arrival in Singapore: On time.

* * * * *

In Udine. Half-conscious.

Where we’re staying.





Around the neighborhood.

At the film festival.

We’re spending this day in airports.

April 22, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Traveling

saffron freud

Off to Venice-Udine-Vienna-Budapest. Today, airports—Manila then Singapore then Frankfurt then Venice. It’s our second least favorite thing about traveling, next to enduring the angry stares of three cats the night before a trip.

In the weeks before departure we spend a lot of time deciding what book to bring. We like to read something set in the place we’re visiting, written by a native. The candidates were:

For Udine: As A Man Grows Older by Italo Svevo, set next door in Trieste.

For Vienna: The Sleepwalkers by Hermann Broch, The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth, The Snows of Yesteryear or An Ermine in Czernopol by Gregor Von Rezzori (technically not Viennese, but set in the Habsburg Empire). We’re taking a break from Stefan Zweig.

For Budapest: The Adventures of Sindbad or Life is a Dream by Gyula Krudy, The Door by Magda Szabo. Which have not yet arrived as our sister hasn’t ordered them yet, having decided that working 12-hour days, raising three kids and going to spinning class is too light a schedule so she started on her MBA. Just writing that made us tired. We need to take a nap after watching a movie.

For Venice: Not Don’t Look Now by Daphne DuMaurier or The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan because they’re scary.

Then we wandered into a bookstore and saw this new edition of The Interpretation of Dreams. Which we’ve never read, even if we feel like we have because we’ve seen so many movies with psychiatrists in them. And we misquote Freud a lot, and attribute to him stuff he never said, so we owe him.

This, then, is our travel read (and the Svevo). If the prose is impenetrable, we can throw it from a great height onto the heads of the people who swore it was accessible.

* * * * *

Great big thanks to Ms Del Rosario at Asia International Travel for booking our train tickets on such short notice. We love trains and do not mind 11-hour journeys. Planes are faster, but when you factor in the time you spend waiting in airports and inhaling recycled air, bleecch.

Dispose of clothes you don’t want anymore and get a one-time 15 percent discount at H&M.

April 21, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Clothing, Shopping


Gather all the clothes you no longer have any use for, including the ones that no longer fit but you’re in denial about, and put them in two bags. (All, meaning even those that are not from H&M. They can even be very old or damaged.) Take them to an H&M store. Bring only two bags per day, don’t bring your entire wardrobe.


Take the bag/s to the cash point checkout next to the I:CO (I: Collect) display box. The sales advisor will look at the bag to see if its contents are safe.


The bag will be placed in the I:CO box. In return, you get a “15 percent off 1 item” discount voucher per bag. You can only get a maximum of 2 vouchers a day.

How many pieces or what is the weight of one bag? There are no rules on quantity or weight, but remember that these are clothes you were going to get rid of anyway, so the more the better.

Again, you can only bring 2 bags a day, for which you will get 2 “15 percent off 1 item” vouchers.


I:Collect will sort the clothes and figure out how to reuse them. Clothes still in good condition will be re-sold as used goods. Clothes that are no longer wearable (meaning they’re ruined, not that they’re polyester mu-muus or I heart Alanis T-shirts one cannot be seen in) are made into cleaning cloths (Yes, trapo). Clothes that cannot be reused are recycled into damping or insulating materials or new textiles. If there is no more conceivable use for those clothes, they are incinerated to produce energy.

For every kilo of clothes H&M collects, I:CO will donate 2 cents Euro to UNICEF Philippines. They will not make a profit from this project.

For more information, go to