With all due respect to my esteemed colleague Elisabeth Rappe, geeks are not the only ones who learned important lessons from watching movies this summer. Herewith is my personal, arthouse summer school summary.
Werner Herzog cast a disapproving eye on the ugliness he discovered at Antarctica's McMurdo Station ("they even have a yoga studio and an ATM!") and was skeptical about the sanity of some of the real-life characters he met, which is partly why Encounters at the End of the World was so entrancing. What I learned: Evidence for gay penguins is skimpy, but they have been known to have threesomes.
The Wackness (pictured) didn't became the breakout hit that some had hoped for, but it did showcase the talents of rising star Olivia Thirlby and director Jonathan Levine. What I learned: Never kiss Ben Kingsley in a telephone booth.
Nanette Burstein's filmmaking techniques were much more off-putting than her ultimately winning subjects in American Teen, another would-be smash that didn't live up to box office expectations. What I learned: Never break up with your girlfriend via text message, especially when a documentary filmmaker is interviewing her.
Unexpectedly, Tell No One became the breakout limited-release mystery thrill ride of the summer, and Man on Wire proved that impassioned high wire walkers can make dreams come true and enthrall audiences to boot. What I learned: It's good to be French.
Now it's your turn, all you indie-loving, doc-devoted, world cinema aficionados: what did you learn from the movies this summer?