52 Days | Screenplay

Drama Thriller

Wrongly accused of desertion, a Canadian graduate student is thrown into a French military prison to serve a year sentence without trial. Surrounded by dangerous criminals, his only chance of survival lies in the hands of his determined mother.


First Part: 1978: A mother and her two children leaves France for Canada, the promised land of business opportunities. Exhausted of having waited for 17 years to receive a French citizenship after having left a country at war and having had to face ongoing discrimination and racism, the family had decided to cross the Ocean and become Canadians.


Three years later, they are happy successful citizens, owning a pastry shop in a very well located part of time. Their main clients are CIA (RCMP) officers coming for lunch and pastries.


Her son, Filip, longs for the country he grew up and saves his money for a touristic trip down memory lane. He visits the French Consulate to make sure his papers are in order and he gathers the travel documents he would need to not be bothered at the border.


May 22nd 1984, Filip (22) arrives at the Charles De Gaule airport, happily awaiting a vacation he has been looking for for the last 5 years. His intention is to enjoy his two weeks and plan his future honeymoon with the woman he just proposed to.

As he steps at the border control, two military officers grab him and place him under arrest for 48 hours without food or water. In the meantime, his cousin impatiently waits at the gate.

The military police takes Filip to a prison military camp 140 kilometers away where he is finally authorized to make his first phone call and reach out to his mother for desperate help.

Second Part: As soon as she hears the news, even if devastated, she decides to do everything in her power to get her son out. She calls every level of government and even reaches out to the First Lady, a close acquaintance of the family. Yet, no one seems to be able to help.

Meanwhile, Filip is treated as a deserter. Being a foreigner he receives severe punishment and harsh treatment from officers and guards. 
He also goes through the process of being experimented on by the medical staff.
His new found friends warn him about two of the most vicious criminals in the prison : a serial rapist and a killer who both plan to rape and subdue Filip.
His girlfriend, hearing he might spend one year in jail, leaves him for someone else.


Filip is beaten repeatedly, and feels the threat of rape and murder closing up on him. His suicide attempt fails. He falls into despair and apathy.

Third Part: After over a month of trying all she can, her mother tries a last resort and calls a very notorious radio show. The next day, the show airs. 

The show makes a big wave and his mother is overwhelmed with the response. Hundreds upon hundreds of letters arrive daily sharing similar stories. 
More newspapers cover the story of the "Kidnapped Canadian".

Due to the scandal the media created, the french army is forced to let Filip go after 50 days in jail. But a general warns his mother that someone might kill Filip before he steps out of the country in an act of retaliation. 


As Filip steps into the bus driving him to a certain depth in a war in Beirut, a car pulls up. A man steps in. He is free to go. 

His cousin comes to the prison to urgently drive Filip to the airport. They rush through traffic on the highway and on Paris streets, chased by two suspicious looking Range Rover SUVs.

Last scene is about Filip celebrating with his family while his friends are being killed in Beirut. The scene is cut between the celebration and the slow motion scene of war where his friends and enemies find a tragic end.


The main characters of this project are the mother Marisa and son Filip. The secondary characters are Jo (Filip's cell mate), Filip's cousin Patrick, the father Peter and the sister Sasha.  


The mother is a hard headed female who has to work hard and overcome many obstacles raising children while a new immigrant in France. After facing discrimination and social injustice, she decides with her husband to move to Canada to start over again. Nothing scares her except the idea of losing one of her children. When she finds out that her son is held captive, she goes full combat mode. She will have to learn that she can't control everything and that she isn't invincible. By allowing her husband to support her, she will achieve what she desires: saving her son. 


The son is a naive mama's boy who never really had to overcome any obstacles. His trip to France is meant only as a way to prepare for his honey moon. He proposes right before leaving, exited to see again a city he longed for every since his parents decided to move out. 

In prison, he will have to face the worse possible circumstances which will make him mentally stronger and grow as a person.


Jo is FIlip's cell mate who also was incarcerated by mistake. He is Filip's support. He protects and guides him in the hell he finds himself immersed in.


Filip's cousin is a father and husband who is supposed to wait for Filiip at the airport. He knows the system as he has been part of it and has very little hope that his cousin can get out of prison before his one year sentence is up. 

Learning that his cousin will be released (towards the end of the movie), he will drive Filip to the airport and get involved into an action packed car chase.


The father is a nonchalant chef who follows his strong wife's lead. He will step in more and more as he sees, for the first time, his wife feeling defeated. 


Filip's sister always fights with his older brother. She will go through much pain having to deal with his brother abduction and imprisonment which will, eventually bring them closer together.  Although the story has been somewhat "dramatically enhanced" for film purposes, this incredible story did happen to "Sasha" who is representing Slavica (the writer and producer)