Domestic Life

Writer-director Isabelle Czajka looks at a single day in the lives of four ordinary housewives in suburban France, presenting her subjects in such rigorous, socioeconomic detail that this 2013 film practically feels like an ethnographic study (it’s certainly as dry as one). The action consists of such humdrum activity as dinner parties and trips to the mall, and the drama is subtle to the point of blandness. Yet this isn’t as straightforward as it first appears; though it’s clear from the start that none of these women is all that happy, the root of their unhappiness isn’t easy to pinpoint. Czajka suggests it might be lack of steady employment, the social repercussions of income inequality, feelings of political impotence, or everyday chauvinism. I found this dull to watch, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it afterward. With Emmanuelle Devos. In French with subtitles.