Rating: 3 stars

It is not without irony that, when Charlotte Rampling first appears in “Hannah,” the title character is in the midst of a screeching vocal exercise — part of an amateur drama troupe exercise. The veteran English actress, 72, a onetime femme fatale who has matured into a peerless performer, gives a first-rate lesson in the art of acting, as a woman crumbling under duress after her husband is incarcerated. And yet the Belgian-set drama, by Italian director Andrea Pallaoro, could also be called self-indulgent, plodding and minimalist, in a big way.

How minimalist? There is no musical score, only ambient sounds. Conversations are abrupt. And frosting a cake qualifies as an action stunt. But with her snakelike eyes, grim expression and shut-off demeanor, Rampling’s careworn face eloquently fills in the blanks like grout, whether during scenes in which Hannah, a housekeeper for a rich family, is shown at work or while tending to her own spare apartment.

The script (by Pallaoro and Orlando Tirado) drops cloaked clues about the nature of her husband’s crimes — such as when a woman knocks on the door demanding that they talk, “mother-to-mother.” By the time photos materialize, which Pallaoro thankfully doesn’t show us, one can guess their horrific nature.

Slowly but surely, Hannah’s world begins to shrink, and her very presence starts to evaporate. She isn’t allowed to see her grandson, a fighting couple ignores her on the subway and her gym membership is suddenly revoked.

Those who think that the word “marvel” applies only to superheroes should steer clear of “Hannah.” But Rampling is a true marvel here, in every other sense of the word. In “Hannah’s” piercing, slow-burn collapse, she makes doing laundry and feeding the dog feel like mesmerizing feats.

Unrated. At the Angelika Pop-Up at Union Market. Contains nudity, mature thematic material and crude language. In French and English with subtitles. 95 minutes.