Bim was a groundbreaking T&T film that premiered in Port-of-Spain 46 years ago.Written by journalist Raoul Pantin, directed by Hugh A Robertson, and based on an original idea by Suzanne Robertson, the film was described by Bruce Paddington as "one of the most important films to be produced in Trinidad and Tobago and ... one of the classics of Caribbean cinema".
The plot, set in 1950s colonial Trinidad, revolves around a young man who survives a life of violence and crime to become part of the political movement towards independence.
The lead role is played by Ralph Maraj. The distinctive music was created by Andre Tanker, who worked with a group of Indian musicians to fuse African and Indian elements.
Bim premiered at Roxy cinema in St. James on 30 January 1975. Originally scheduled for 31 December 1974, the premiere was delayed by a ban imposed by the T&T Film Censors Board because a character uttered “Oh shit!” and “Mother ass” a few times.
The board also cited the film's supposed potential for inciting racial hatred, and an attempted rape scene in which Bim realised that his intended victim was a long-lost girlfriend.
The Minister of Education, Carlton Gomes, appointed a special committee of five persons to review the film, which was eventually passed uncut, but restricted to audiences over 18.
Ironically, Bim won a gold medal special jury award as "a film of unusual merit" at the 1975 U.S. Virgin Islands Film Festival, and was shown at the CARIFESTA Film Festival in Jamaica and the Los Angeles Film Festival (both in 1976). It also earned a sympathetic review in the New York Times (Dec. 2, 1976), which found Bim a good deal more interesting than many more slickly-made films.
In 2014 writer Pat Ganase started a Facebook page called Bim, the movie—the modern-day equivalent of the Hollywood fan club—in an attempt to ignite online discussion about the film and the issues it dealt with.