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It has been said that all cinema is a special effect. In this highly original examination of time in film Sean Cubitt tries to get at the root of the uncanny effect produced by images and sounds that don’t quite align with reality. What is it that cinema does? Cubitt proposes a history of images in motion from a digital perspective, for a digital audience. From the viewpoint of art history, an image is discrete, still. How can a moving image – constructed from countless constituent images – even be considered an image? And where in time is an image in motion located? Cubitt traces the complementary histories of two forms of the image/motion relationship – the stillness of the image combined with the motion of the body (exemplified by what Cubitt calls the ‘protocinema of railway travel’) and the movement of the image combined with the stillness of the body (exemplified by melodrama and the magic lantern).