Wag the Dog is a film that became a media event and a cultural icon because it inadvertently short-circuited the distance that is supposed to separate reality and fiction. The film's narration challenges the established boundaries between the fiction and nfiction tradition, as Barry Levinson, the director, embeds his interest in documentary filmmaking and complicates the issue of narrative agency in the way he frames the story. The examination of the historical and social context in which it was produced, exhibited and received worldwide enables the author to illuminate a series of changes in the way a fiction film reflects and interacts with reality, urging us to reconsider some of our central and long-standing concepts or even paradigms in film theory. Eleftheria Thauli provides new insights into a series of issues from both classical and contemporary film theory, like the conceptual and ontological stakes in the use of digital techlogy, the impact of mass media on public memory and the political role of cinema in a globalized and conglomerated world.
Eleftheria Thanouli is Assistant Professor in Film Theory at the Film Department at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam in 2005. She is the author of Post-Classical Cinema: An International Poetics of Film Narration (2009).