Documentary filmmakers are increasingly focusing on their own lives and on their families. "I call it domestic ethnography," says Renov. "It's [about] really digging into your own background to look at where you came from and who you are via your own family members." But, according to Renov, Alan Berliner's film about his father - a reluctant subject if ever there was one - "is the best of them." The downside? It's not widely distributed. To order your own copy, contact Milestone Films at (800) 603-1104 or at www.milestonefilms.com. While you're waiting for Nobody's Business to arrive, Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of the DVD rentals-by-mail service Netflix, recommends you check out Tarnation, an incredibly intimate 2003 documentary about filmmaker Jonathan Caouette's family.

The Gleaners and I (2000)
In her first-person documentary, which Kahana says is "one of the very best" there is, French filmmaker Agnès Varda manages to bring garbage, French civil law, and home video together - successfully. "A charmingly digressive film," he adds, Gleaners is "knit together by Varda's funny, incisive, and deeply personal narration."

Spellbound (2002)
Spellbound, which lives up to its name literally and figuratively, seems at first like it's going to be a light little flick about the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee. Well, not so much. "It's a wonderfully well-made film," says Renov. "It's humorous and does one of the things I love for films to do - it starts out feeling like it's one kind of film and turns into another." Instead of just a look at the bee, viewers get to take a good look "at American culture … our competitiveness, how driven we've become." And director Jeffrey Blitz does it all without letting up on the entertainment value for even a second.