To celebrate the start of the Mixed Reality conference, we went last night to Sweden’s oldest purpose built cinema in old Ystad, to watch the Bollywood supernatural horror romance (oh do keep up) movie 1920 Evil Returns – which was shot in atmospheric old houses all over the Skane region. Unsurprisingly, 1920 is set in (you guessed it) 1920, in a kind of alternate reality where India is like quaint, foggy 1880’s Sweden, where cars have’t been invented and where blokes wear braces and cossack sleeves, and there’s nary a sari in sight. Smurfette (a troubled lass) and Dev (a gloomy poet) fall in love through a hand-written correspondence, but then she gets possessed by something evil and he (with almost Hamlet-ish levels of fortitudinous inaction) has to find out how to save her.
Now, as you know I don’t really see a lot of Bollywood fare. In fact the last time I saw one was actually Bollywood superhero thingy staring Hrithik Roshan and his twin thumbs. But I actually quite enjoyed 1920 Evil Returns. It’s schlocky as all hell, and a lot of the spooky bits are completely derivative – from The Exorcist and Ghost Ship and Season of the Witch to name but three – but the actress playing Smurfette (no, not actually her name) is great and she appears to be enjoying her time actually acting rather than dancing complex routines and singing like Minnie Mouse on helium. And Ystad’s locations look good enough to make a trip – which I guess is what this film tourism stuff is supposed to be about. Two million Indians saw this film in its opening weekend in Mumbai – equivalent to a quarter of Sweden’s population in two days. That’s got to be something, right?