Best known for his beguiling video diary “Totally Personal,” Bosnian helmer Nedzad Begovic delves into the aesthetic possibilities of cell-phone video technology with his charming experimental docu “A Cell Phone Movie.” Brimming with offbeat humor and inventive artistry, the pic illustrates a fresh approach for low-tech auteurs. Building a portrait of the artist as a middle-aged man along with his absurdist visual musings, the poetically edited work is composed of short YouTube length scenes connected by fades to black. Fests should come calling.
In 2008, around the same time that he is diagnosed with angina, Begovic invests in a top-of-the-line LG KU990 Viewty, which comes with a high-resolution 5.0-megapixel camera. Advised to walk a lot, he uses the mobile camera during his perambulations over three years and different seasons, capturing some of Sarajevo’s sassy street graffiti as well as fellow pedestrians who wouldn’t be out of place in the Ministry of Silly Walks.
The way he shoots his family — wife Amina, daughters Naida and Sabrina, and parents Hasiba and Suleiman — speaks volumes about his love for them. He even gives humorously tender regard to the family’s undergarments flapping on a clothesline, with the appearance of his jokey slogan-sporting T-shirts countering any mawkishness.
Visuals of a kaleidoscope, colored water swirling down a drain, and the speed-blurred landscape seen from a car window provide an abstract, painterly beauty. On the lighter side, as in “Totally Personal,” Begovic also shoots himself doing goofy things, such as blowing bubbles in a mirror and playing with his shadow. In some scenes, the helmer’s telephone conversations (many about his health) work in counterpoint with an indirectly related visual; other scenes have direct sound.
Beta SP projection format looks impressive on the bigscreen. Helmer is raising money for a 35mm print.