‘Boulevard’ review | Robin Williams searches for love and happiness in final ever film role
As a closeted older man wrestling with an inner turmoil, Robin Williams’ final role is laced with tragic irony.
“So you wanna touch me or what?”
Nolan Mack is the 60-year-old man who falls for scrawny-but-adorable trick Leo. Boulevard is the story of leading life as a lie, until that lie takes its toll – and is no longer bearable. It’s also the last movie Robin Williams filmed before he took his life.
Robin plays the aforementioned Nolan, the low-level banker and married man who since the age of 12 has been suppressing that urge to look at the hot guy on the beach in his oh-so-sexy shorts. The movie tangos between Nolan’s middle American life with wife Joy and a new-found love with the cute Roberto Aguire’s Leo.
The quote above is uttered by Leo, who is paid by Nolan not for sex, but for a long-craved-for romantic entanglement. Speaking before he died, Robin Williams described the movie as having a painful beauty. “There are a lot of unfulfilled relationships in this movie. This story reminds us of how difficult it is to find fulfillment” he said, adding that when Nolan is with Leo, it’s not about the sex, it is about realising what his life has been missing – a romance with another man.
‘The Boy from Mushin’ follows Bisi Alimi as he braves a return to the area in Nigeria in which he grew up.
Bisi Alimi was exiled from Nigeria after being the first and man to come out publicly as gay on national television in 2004. After suffering years of death threat and abuse, he was finally forced to flee the country for the UK eight years ago.
Now, Attitude has an exclusive look at the documentary which follows his powerful story and emotional first trip back home to the country where homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years in prison and, in some northern Islamic states, even death. Jamie Wareham spoke to Joe Cohen, director of The Boy From Mushin about the project and why he’s taken to Kickstarter to fund the film’s completion…
Coming out in the UK is difficult. But imagine being the first man to ever come out as gay, live on national TV – in a country where it’s illegal. Bisi Alimi was forced to leave Nigeria after he did just that. Despite living in the UK for years after claiming asylum and being forced to build his life from the ground up – Bisi still gets death threats.
“I get Facebook messages all the time from people I don’t even know telling me, if you come to Nigeria – I’m going to kill you,” he says.
Now in an intimate documentary, Bisi has documented how he returned home to Nigeria, in a shroud of secrecy to visit his friends, family and roots. Screening exclusively on Attitude, here is the trailer: Continue reading →
Co Production: Cassie Galpin, Jamie Wareham and Peter Walker
The Islamic students’ society at the London university attended by the militant known as Jihadi John is dominated by hardline, ultra-conservative believers who refuse to speak with female Muslim staff members, according to an independent report into inclusion among students at the institution.
Complaints about the conduct of the University of Westminster Islamic society, some from other Muslims, tended to be ignored or underplayed because staff and student unions officials were worried about appearing Islamophobic, found the inquiry.
Members of the society itself acted as “apostles of a self-contained faith, concerned very largely with matters of religious orthodoxy and perceived heresy”, according to the four-strong inquiry panel, who included the historian Lord Kenneth Morgan and Fiyaz Mughal, a former adviser to Nick Clegg on interfaith matters.
Their report found university officials tacitly tolerated a “sometimes hostile or intimidatory” attitude to women on the campus, calling this “totally unacceptable”. Islamic society committee members would refuse to engage with female Muslim staff, the panel were told, obliging these to seek help from male colleagues to communicate with the group.
Westminster commissioned the report into its balance between free speech and diversity in the wake of concerns about extremism on its campuses, including the revelation in February that the British Islamic State militant Mohammed Emwazi was a graduate of the university.
Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, was named as the masked figure who appeared in a series of Isis videos in which British, US and other hostages were beheaded.
During US President Barack Obama’s official visit to Kenya this week, he’ll be confronted with 5000 naked men and women from the country’s ultra-conservative Republican Liberty party, who are planning on stripping to show him the difference between the sexes in protest at his “open and aggressive support for homosexuality.” Homosexuality is currently illegal in Kenya, with acts carrying a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
In a fascinating new interview, Jamie Wareham has spoken to the party’s leader, Vincent Kidaha, about the planned protest – and challenges him about why he thinks homosexuals should be stoned to death, and what he’d do if a member of his own family was gay. It’s an uncomfortable, but vital, encounter…
When you speak to a notoriously homophobic anti-gay political party leader, who says “I don’t want to ban gay people”, a flicker of hope lights up in your heart. The trouble with Vincent Kidaha is that he followed this up by saying, “they should be stoned instead”.
When President Obama visits Kenya later this week, he’ll be faced by Mr Kidaha and 5000 naked protesters who are unhappy with the president’s “aggressive attempts to bring in gay marriage” to the United States, which following a recent Supreme Court ruling, has now happened.
Vincent – the leader of Kenya’s Republican Liberty Party – says they are stripping bare to show Obama “there is a difference between a man and a woman” and argues Obama’s views on being gay are putting “African family values at risk”.
But it’s not just values at risk. Mr Kidaha also believes gays are bad for the environment – or “destructive”, to be specific. For him, it is down to conserving and protecting African culture and family values.
With a new poll showing that many young people still think it’s acceptable to use many gay slurs, Jamie Wareham of Student Pride asks – should we be reclaiming language that has the power to hurt so much?
A BBC Newsbeat survey has shown that nearly half of 18-29 year-olds still think its OK to use the phrase ‘that’s gay’. It also shows 34% think faggot, a word long steeped in hate, is also OK to use, despite 75% of the respondents being offended by it.
One way the LGBT community has responded to homophobic language is by taking words used against us, and making them ours. One group that is renowned for proudly reclaiming words that were used to demonise LGBT people is Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners.
After the Sun Newspaper called the LGSM perverts during the miners strikes in the eighties, the group held a ‘Pits and Perverts’ fundraising gig – which was massively successful.
Jonathan Blake, original LGSM member and one of the first people to be diagnosed with HIV in London, is a massive advocate of reclaiming language.
Should you write LGBT achievements on your CV? It seems graduates up and down the country are not getting the best advice when it comes to this question.
At a recent Student Pride event, a London Metropolitan Banking student, told us how much he wanted to get on a acclaimed Lloyds professional services graduate scheme. To make sure he nailed the application, he asked for advice from this lecturer. Part of the advice they gave him included taking out being the LGBT society president, despite the vast amount he’d achieved and the leadership skills this showed about him. “Its not relevant”, he was told.
The frustrating irony of this? Companies like EY, in the professional service industry, are desperate for LGBT graduates to join their scheme. EY have sponsored Student Pride for five years and Tom Guy the President of organisation, says this story is all to common to hear from Student Pride sponsors.
Liz Bingham (Managing Partner for People, UK & Ireland at EY and Student Pride ambassador) says: “At EY we are passionate about enabling people to come together in an environment where they feel included and respected. National Student Pride enables LGBT students to do just that”.
LGBT friendly employers who are involved with the event take part in what is now the largest LGBT student career fair at the annual event. They do so to meet LGBT graduates and get them in the workplace.
So why do careers advisers get people to play down their LGBT diversity? Continue reading →
University is known for being the ultimate place to explore freedom, sexuality and identity whether that means going out in outrageous outfits, dancing the night away or dying your hair bright pink. It should also be a safe place to be open about being LGBT.
Unfortunately, the reality on campus is not as easy as its reputation would lead you to believe. A report by NUS LGBT shows that 1 in 5 students face homophobia, and 1 in 3 face transphobia. Though incidents of violence appear to be relatively rare, it appears that verbal bullying and name calling are almost common place.
That’s why events like National Student Pride are so important. Robbie Young, an NUS LGBT officer, says students are the best resource in fighting LGBT-phobia on campus.