At the risk of sounding flippant, there's no material as rich as a miserable childhood — writers as diverse as JT LeRoy and Dorothy Allison have spun mesmerizing narratives from tattered memories of trauma and abuse. Self-taught filmmaker Jonathan Caouette also turned his troubled past into a bold, painful memoir located in an innovative middleground between conventional documentary and homemade home-movie collage. Caouette begins in March 2002, when he received the news that his mentally ill mother, Renee LeBlanc, had overdosed on lithium. Caouette rushes back to the Houston suburb he once called home, leaving his boyfriend in New York City. The journey back becomes...