Dating back to 1917, “The French Military Mission to Hijaz” includes the earliest footage shot on the Arabian Peninsula. Both a significant historical document and an engaging narrative, it is the only filmed account of the Great Arab Revolt, launched against the Ottomans in 1916 by Sharif Hussein ben Ali of Mecca. Emile Pierre and Jean Prache have pieced together silent film reels from the archives of the French Ministry of Defense. Forgotten for a century, the footage opens a window onto a lost past, making a major contribution to our understanding and knowledge of Saudi Arabia’s history and foundations.

Historian and diplomat Louis Blin provides a fascinating commentary to the film, situating these rare images to provide insight into their significance. He is the author of several books on the Middle East. Since 1995, he has served as a diplomat at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has been posted in several Arab countries.