Film Screening at NYU Abu dhabi: The Cruel Sea / بس يا بحر

The Cruel Sea_film poster.jpg

On October 28th, NYU Abu Dhabi will host a rare screening of the 1972 Kuwaiti film بس يا بحر / The Cruel Sea. Directed by Khaled Al-Sidik, it is the first feature film to be made in Kuwait, and is also considered to be the first feature film from the Gulf region. The film won the FIPRESCI award at the 33rd Venice Film Festival in 1972.

The film is set before the discovery of oil in Kuwait when fishing and pearl diving was the predominant occupation. I’ve seen this film as a very young child on TV and there’s a bad quality version of it on YouTube, so the opportunity for it to be watched on a big screen is a big deal.

I’ve been told we will be seeing a restored version at NYU Abu Dhabi. I am not sure when/where was it restored, but hope to find out on the day.

The screening is at 6pm and is free to attend. You can register here. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Khaled Al-Sidik.

بس يا بحر / Bas Ya Bahr / The Cruel Sea
Dir. Khaled Al Sidik
1972 | 100 mins | Kuwait | Arabic with English subtitles

The Cruel Sea.jpg

Khaled Al-Sidik’s visually detailed The Cruel Sea (Bas ya Bahar) set in Kuwait, is a gripping portrait of the lives of pearl divers and their families set in a pre-petroleum Gulf.

Traditional villages and an absence of modern 20th century technology capture a scarcely documented past, portraying complicated characters living on the edge of death every day. The film stars Kuwaiti acting legends Saad Al Faraj and Hayat Al Fahed.