You’d probably recognize his craggy face, lopsided mustache and multiple tattoos, possibly because he’s appeared in more than 400 movies and TV shows, yet you may not know his name.
But if you attend this year’s Mill Valley Film Festival (the 42nd edition) and catch “Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo,” you’re unlikely to ever forget the moniker.
The documentary is just under two hours of inspiration, the real-life story of a man raised in a California town’s Mexican/Chicano ghetto who became addicted to heroin at the age of 12, a criminal who spent years behind bars in San Quentin and a handful of other state prisons, a man who turned himself completely around to be a drug-and-alcohol counselor and then became addicted again, this time to helping others.
The doc — which I screened in advance but will be an Oct. 6 special premiere event at the festival (with an in-person appearance by director Brett Harvey as well as the hombre who changed from tough-guy character and voice actor to leading man in 2010 via the bloody action-thriller “Machete”) — is an intense, sometimes difficult-to-watch portrait of a man who chooses to have a better life.
The festival, which opens tomorrow and runs through Oct. 13 will feature 12 world premieres, 11 North American premieres and 17 U.S. premieres in four main theaters — spotlighting a slew of potential Oscar winners.
In my estimation, it’s probably the best line-up in years, and that’s saying a lot because the festival’s long been a world-class affair.
Personal appearances are expected by, among others, A-list performers Jamie Foxx (opening night’s film, “Just Mercy”), Edward Norton (closing night’s “Motherless Brooklyn”), Robert Pattinson (“The Lighthouse”) and Kristen Stewart (“Seberg”).
Other movies expected to draw well include “Ford v Ferrari,” starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale; “Clemency,” featuring Alfre Woodard; “Marriage Story,” with Laura Dern; and a documentary about a notorious Donald Trump mentor, “Where’s My Roy Cohn?”
A restored version of Philip Kaufman’s 1988 classic, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” is also likely to pull in a crowd — as should a series of adjunct concerts at Sweetwater Music Hall.
I’m not sure who else will show up, but my granddaughter and I plan to enjoy two cartoon anthologies Oct. 5, “As the World Turns” and “Fresh & Fearless.”
A little something for virtually every taste and every age bracket (as usual)?
For more information on the festival, call 415-383-5256 or check out https://www.mvff.com.