Father Mike Corridan’s Real Life Parrallel

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Father Mike Corridan, as he begins his sermon at Patti’s funeral (41:35)

One character that I was really drawn to in Chi-Raq was John Cusack’s character, Father Mike Corridan. At Patti’s funeral, he gives a powerful sermon outlining why gang violence continues to thrive in Chicago, noting that it is likely because there is a lack of economic investment in their community. This lack of investment forces Chicago men to go work in “the underground economy” because, even though “they say unemployment is 5.7%” in “Auburn Gresham, unemployment is 21%, and that doesn’t even count people who have given up hope” (43:54).


A couple months ago I came across a New Yorker article about an Auburn Gresham Priest, Father Michael Pfleger, called “Father Mike.” Father Mike has worked in the Chicago area for the past 40 years. In his time he “has expanded St. Sabina beyond the church and the school, to include a food pantry, a job-training center, and apartments for low-income residents and the elderly.” Much like Cusack’s character, Father Mike has also paid “witnesses to name assailants whom others are afraid to identify.”

I thought it was very interesting that Lee chose to essentially place this real life person into a film that is founded in Greek Literature. It clearly shows that Pfleger is a man that is deeply respected by Lee.

For more on Father Mike, check out this video

Also, check out this cool photo of Father Mike with Spike Lee!

Director Spike Lee is greeted by Father Michael Pfleger during a mass at Saint Sabina Church in Chicago




2 thoughts on “Father Mike Corridan’s Real Life Parrallel”

  1. First off, very cool photo of Father Mike and Spike Lee. Two, when I attended Catholic School in NYC from pre-school to 8th grade, I too had a priest Father Mike who did work in the community, mostly for children and the elderly. Three, to address your post, I think Spike Lee does a great job of using real people in his movies to address a crisis. Using real people such as Father Mike in Chi-Raq allows Lee’s attentions to be understood more by the audience. Lee cares deeply for any black community, whether it be “Crooklyn” or returning “Chi-Raq” back into Chicago. To know that a “Father Mike” exists in a community of Chicago gives me more hope. I applaud Lee for doing research before creating the film.


  2. It’s also interesting to look at Father Mike and see that he is able to do so much good in the community, but that also probably has something to do with him being a slight outsider. His perspective on problems is not centered around being actually in a youth in a gang or an elderly person living in the projects, and that probably helps in his efforts to objectively look at something before he tries to solve it.


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