Mad genius? Narcissistic artist? An entertainer who cannot resist throwing in the kitchen sink? Viewers can make up their own definition for Nedzad Begovic, the director and central character of the aptly titled Totally Personal. This delightful little gem from Bosnia and Herzegovina has much to say about what it is like to live in Sarajevo, as seen through the quizzical eyes of this narrator-hero. Starting with his birth in 1958, Begovic fills us in on what it was like to have the first TV on the block, to take loyalty oaths to Yugoslavian leader Tito and the Motherland, to get married to Amina, and to decide to make a no-budget filmic masterpiece with a digital camera. All this and much, much more is narrated with self-deprecating humor in wonderfully accented English. The filmmaker's precarious means, far from being a handicap to his storytelling, seem to inspire him to ever-greater heights of imagination. Along with his biography, he throws in whimsical theories about body parts and why the Serbian Chetniks started a war in Bosnia, and what the U.N. forces were really doing during said war (answer: counting the number of shells fired). The film's financial and technical limitations finally converge with the serious shortages that Bosnians experienced during the war-including no water, bread, electricity, gas, or gasoline. Bosnians' innate creativity, Begovic seems to say, have seen them through under all circumstances, just as his own imagination has created what he modestly calls his own little masterpiece.
Nedzad Begovic, a film director and scriptwriter, works in a variety of genres: cartoon, documentary, short films, and TV serials. Over the course of his career, he has won numerous awards, including "Big gold medal for the best cartoon" in Belgrade, 1985; "Gazeta Festivalow" of critics in Krakow, 1985; Debutant Award given by the jury, Tampere, 1986; Special recognition of the jury, Stuttgart, 1986; Diploma of the jury, Belgrade 1987; and "Big gold medal for the best short film," Belgrade, 1991. The Ministry of Culture for Bosnia and Herzegovina awarded him the title of Independent Artist in 1989. His films have been presented in more than 250 cities worldwide.