Andrea Pallaoro opens his understated story with Hannah (Charlotte Rampling) seated in a subway car glancing at a man as he crossdresses. The subway is where the elliptical plot will put Hannah at the end. The 71-year-old star — “The Night Porter,” “Melancholia,” “45 Years” — plays a woman buffeted by indistinct crises. Pallaoro never discloses why her husband is starting a prison sentence, why her son angrily stops her from seeing her grandson in his birthday, why she works as a housecleaner for a well-off woman with a blind son, why her pool revokes her membership, and why she’s drawn to a beached whale. The only manipulative omissions are not letting us see the photos she finds hidden at home and hear an autobiographical monologue she prepares for her theater class. “Hannah” frames an indelible performance with a distinctly formal eye.2:30 p.m. Oct 19.
The Chicago International Film Festival continues through Oct. 26 at AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois.