In 1977, Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman made "News from Home." Shot around the city, the film consists of long, drawn-out everyday scenes of urban life.
Here's a fragment of a ride on the subway. Initially, the riders are wary of the camera, staring it down. But then they adjust to its presence, as New Yorkers do to strange situations, and ride along ignoring it.
News From Home, 1977 - Chantal Akerman (Fragmento) from Ronaldo Entler on Vimeo.
The entire film is much longer and includes many street scenes. Someday I'd like to see the whole thing--unfortunately, I just missed it at MOMA. Here's the museum's description:
"Described by Melissa Anderson as 'one of the most unheralded portraits of the city,' News from Home is as much a symphony of urban geometric abstraction as it is a poetic diaspora tale. Inspired by the letters she received from her mother while living in New York, Akerman returned to the city after an absence and filmed its streets with her Pentax camera. 'Although Akerman’s New York is largely a city of non-sites—empty Tribeca alleys, dingy Midtown parking lots, an abandoned gas station tucked into the crook of another building’s wall—the symmetry of her composition gives it the classic aura of ancient Rome' (J. Hoberman). From the eternal city Akerman reads her mother’s letters, conjuring a sense of distant voices and still lives."
Thanks to commenter alberchico, here's the full movie:
News From Home (1977) from Dave Chino on Vimeo.