Does it Hurt? The 1st Balkan Dogma (Boli li? Prvata balkanska dogma)

Macedonia/The Netherlands 2007, Feature film, 91' | Director, Screenplay Aneta Lesnikovska | DoP Lennert Hillege | Editor Igor Andreevski | Sound Slobodan Pajic | Cast Irena Ristik, Igor Dzambazov, Dejan Lilik, Visar Vishka | Production AKA Film - Makedonija, Concordia Pictures, NFI - Nederlands Film Instituut Producties

A real film about a made-up occurrence. The director transposes her own life and that of her friends into a fictional situation. Most of her friends are actors and filmmakers, but they do anything but acting or making films. In a country like Macedonia there is neither money nor grants to make films. And so Aneta Lesnikovska begins working according to the Dogma principles, not only to create work for her friends, but also to fulfil her own dream: making her first film as director.

She tells her friends that she has found a foreign backer for the film. They wait for the Danish producers , who will never turn up. In the meantime Lesnikovska "researches" her film and films her friends as they narrate their life stories. What appear to be preparations for a film is actually the film itself. There is no longer any difference between fiction and reality.

In 1995, Danish film directors Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Kristian Levring and Søren Kragh-Jacobsen drew up a manifesto for the production of films under the title Dogma 95. The manifesto in particular addresses the cinema's increasing alienation from reality, and banishes special effects and technical tricks, illusion and dramatic predictability. Does It Hurt? The First Balkan Dogma, was made in response to the 10th anniversary of the foundation of the Dogma manifesto. In addition, Lesnikovska's debut film is an amusing portrait of a young generation of film workers in Macedonia.


Aneta Lesnikovska came to Holland in 1992 after being accepted at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, department of audiovisual art. In 1995, she studied as an exchange student at the Cooper Union School of Art, department of film and video, in New York. Since her graduation in 1997, Lesnikovska has worked as video artist, VJ and producer. Her films and installations have been shown at numerous exhibitions and festivals. She has been involved in various film projects. Boli li? Prvata balkanska dogma is her first work as director.

Aneta Lesnikovska
Macedonia, Netherlands
Feature Film
Focus: Around the Balkans