"The cinema presents us with quite a different perceptual technology and mode of representation. Through its objectively visible spatialization of a frozen point of view into dynamic and intentional trajectories of self-displacing vision and through its subjectively experienced temporalization of an essential moment into lived momentum, the cinematic radically reconstitutes the photographic. This radical difference between the transcendental, posited moment of the photograph and the existential momentum of the cinema, between the scene to be contemplated and the scene as it is lived, is foregrounded most dramatically in Chris Marker’s remarkable short film, La Jetée (1962). A cinematic study of desire, memory, and time, La Jetée is presented completely through the use of still photographs—except for one extraordinarily brief but utterly compelling sequence late in the film. Lying in bed and looking toward the camera in yet another photograph, the woman—who has through time and memory been the object of the hero’s desire and whom we have only come to know in frozen and re-membered moments that mark her loss as much as her presence—suddenly blinks. Yet this is a peculiar sense of “suddenly”—one that speaks more to surprise at an unexpected and radical shift in the ontological status of the image and our relation to it than to a more superficial narrative or formal surprise. Indeed, just prior to the brief momentum and intentional revelation of the woman actively blinking, we have watched an increasingly rapid cinematic succession of stilled and dissolving photographic images of her supine in bed that increasingly approach motion but never achieve it. The editorial succession thus may prepare us narratologically or formally for motion, but, however rapid, this succession alone does not animate the woman or give her substantial presence as more than her image. Thus, even as we are seemingly prepared, and even though the photographic move to cinematic movement is extremely subtle, we are nonetheless surprised and deem the movement startling and “sudden.” And this is because everything radically changes, and we and the image are reoriented in relation to each other. The space between the camera’s (and the spectator’s) gaze and the woman becomes suddenly habitable, informed with the real possibility of bodily movement and engagement, informed with lived temporality rather than eternal timelessness. The image becomes “fleshed out,” and the woman turns from a posed odalisque into someone who is not merely an immortalized lost object of desire but also—and more so—a mortal and desiring subject. In sum, what in the film has been previously a mounting accumulation of nostalgic moments achieves substantial and present presence in its sudden and brief accession to momentum and the consequent potential for effective action."
Vivian Sobchack, "The Scene of the Screen: Envisioning Photographic, Cinematic, and Electronic “Presence”"