A Discussion About the Film The Cruel Sea by Khalid Al Siddiq

On October 28, NYU Abu Dhabi Institute hosted a screening of the 1972 film Bas Ya Bahr / The Cruel Sea, the first feature film from Kuwait directed by Khalid Al Siddiq. The screening was in conjunction with the Film and Visual Media in the Gulf conference which took place between October 28-30 at the institute.

This film was mostly seen on TV in this region in the 1970s/80s and there have been bad copies of it floating online. So this was a rare opportunity to see the film on the big screen. At first, I wondered if it was a restored version, but we ended up seeing a digital version that belongs to Channel 4 in the UK.

I had lots of thoughts about the film and so did Faisal Salah, a cinephile and a social media journalist at The National, who wrote about the screening for the paper.

I asked him if we can record our thoughts and discussion about the film for the podcast Tea with Culture, and he happily agreed.

Click on the player below to listen to our discussion about the film, why and how it was made, the controversy around it, its reception regionally and globally and its importance to Gulf and Arab film history.