A Man And A Woman filmmaker Claude Lelouch has been the victim of a robbery, and says he lost 50 years of hand-written observations “in 10 seconds” as two of his bags were stolen from outside the Paris office of his production company, Les Films 13. The Oscar winner told France Info radio on Saturday that along with the notes was the final draft of his next project, Oui Et Non. Lelouch said he would now be forced to delay the picture “by about a year, the time to put everything back in order.”

On January 2, Lelouch was returning from a trip to the mountains during which he had worked on the Oui Et Non script. Parking outside the Avenue Hoche office of Les Films 13 — well-known to the industry for its luxe screening room — the director said, “I got out of the car, took out two bags in which I had 50 years of notes, observations, snippets of conversations overheard in cafés or in the street which help feed my films, and my last script. In the time it took me to close the car, the bags disappeared… I didn’t see anything. It’s unbelievable. My films are nothing other than the result of my observations.”

The bags contained about 200 pieces of paper with notes jotted down. “I write about everything I can when I see something that I like. I’ve taken notes all my life… These are the suitcases of my life that have been stolen from me,” he told the radio station.

Asked if he had a copy of any of the work, Lelouch allowed that he certainly had earlier drafts of Oui Et Non, but the definitive version was the one that got lifted. He also said he had gone through all the garbage bins in the neighborhood, to no avail, and has filed a complaint. Mostly, he’s hoping for “a miracle,” he told multiple outlets today as he launched a plea to the thieves to return the notes.

The 80-year-old Lelouch’s last film was 2017’s Chacun Sa Vie, an ensemble comedy with Jean Dujardin that also featured the recently deceased Johnny Hallyday. Oui Et Non is understood to be about two families over the course of a century beginning in 1937.