On the morning of 11 September 2001, two planes crashed into the side of the World Trade Center. Shock-waves spread throughout the world. The next day, it was revealed that fifteen of the nineteen terrorists responsible for the attacks were Saudi nationals who belonged to a radical Islamist movement led by Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden.

But why would Saudis, whose country is a traditional ally of the USA, want to attack one of America’s most important symbol? Neither America nor Saudi Arabia seemed able to provide an answer. Meanwhile, the rest of the world realized how little it knew about the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
To understand Saudi Arabia, you have to look at its ruling family. The al-Saud family hold the keys to every aspect of life in Saudi Arabia.

The al-Saud have managed to hold onto their power by maintaining the precarious balance between Islam and modernity on which the survival of this oil-producing state depends. But will they be able to weather the storm now approaching?

The House of Saud retraces the recent history of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and examines how the country has changed over the years. Through the portraits of the five Saudi monarchs, the film explores four main themes: Islam, oil, relations with the USA and the Palestinian question. These are the main themes that run through the domestic and foreign policies of a country that remains profoundly tribal.

Jihan El-Tahri

Jihan El-Tahri (born in Beirut, Lebanon) is a writer, director and producer of documentary films. She is a French and Egyptian national. In 1984, she received her BA in Political Science, and in 1986 her MA in Political Science from the American University in Cairo. She worked as a news correspondent with U.S. News and World Report and Reuters, TV researcher, and associate producer in Tunisia, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Algeria, and Egypt between 1984 to 1990. As a correspondent, El-Tahri covered politics in the Middle East. In 1990, El-Tahri started directing and producing documentaries for French television, and for the BBC since 1995.

Among Jihan’s filmography:
Egypt’s Modern Pharaons (2015) 3×60’ – ARTE
Behind the Rainbow – (2010) 2h18– ARTE , ITVS, SABC, SBS
Cuba! Africa! Revolution! (2007) 2×60’– ARTE , BBC, ITVS
The house of Saud (2004) 2×60’ – ARTE , BBC, ITVS
The price of aid (2003) 60’ – ARTE , BBC



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