Claude Sautet’s 1971 crime drama Max and the Junkmen ("Max et les ferrailleurs") never hit American theaters, but fans have a chance to see it now: A 35mm restored print is being screened as part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Revival film series. The story follows Max (Michel Piccoli), a wealthy Paris detective who’s passionately devoted to stopping crime. Having lost his faith in the justice system after seeing a guilty criminal go free in court, Max contrives a convoluted plan to entrap a gang of local scrap thieves. While undercover, he convinces them to rob a small bank. All the while he’s planning to foil the crime and hand them over to the police, becoming a hero. Things get complicated when he falls for Lily (Romy Schneider), a young German prostitute who happens to be the gangleader’s girlfriend. Max and the Junkmen is a gripping film that spends long, wonderful moments building up its players before unleashing them on the ill-fated heist with shocking consequences. Piccoli plays Max with crazy urgency, and his performance is bolstered by Schneider’s angelic performance.
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7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 5 p.m. Sunday. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit mfah.org. $9.
Fri., Dec. 20, 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 21, 7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 22, 5 p.m., 2013