History Investigation & Politics 90' 52'


The 1978 kidnapping of Belgian Baron Empain, flamboyant heir and master of industry, CEO of the French Schneider group, is still remembered today. But who knows the story of the family empire? The astonishingly romantic story of this "shattered dynasty" is first told by former hostage Jean-Édouard Empain, known as "Wado".


His voice and those of researchers mingle with rich archives, films and photographs, for a rich and fascinating journey through a century of capitalism, between great history and intimate tragedies. In the beginning, there was a "demigod": the grandfather, Édouard (1852-1929), who took advantage of the boom in Belgian capitalism, technical advances and colonization to build a colossal empire. He built the Paris metro, built the railroads and exploited mines in the Belgian Congo, and raised an entire city, Heliopolis, from the sands of Egypt...


A worthy heir to his ancestor and a conquering buccaneer, Jean-Édouard led a sprawling group with over 120,000 employees and sales of 22 billion euros, but lost everything after his imprisonment, following revelations in the press about his private life.

Direction: Tanguy Cortier & Alice Gorissen

Production: Flair Production, ToDo Today productions for ARTE G.E.I.E. & RTBF

Languages: French

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