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The world of indie film has often been recognized for its unyielding dedication to authenticity and its proclivity for bringing unique and raw tales to the fore. Among the most passionate forerunners of this cause stands “Bless Me Father,” a modern Italian mobster thriller set in New Jersey. The charm of this production doesn’t just lie in its plot or setting but in its ardent return to the grassroots of neorealism. The movie is available to rent or buy on Prime Video.
Neorealism – a film style that captures the authenticity of a setting by employing everyday people in their natural environments – is a refreshing breeze in the bustling streets of contemporary cinema. The makers of “Bless Me Father” not only champion this age-old technique but also give it a modern twist, turning it into a grand spectacle of realism and raw emotion.
At the helm of this project is Gianni McLaughlin, accompanied by his wife, Milly-May. Their journey, which started backstage during an off-Broadway play, morphed into a voyage of creating a poignant story with a soul. In the face of a global pandemic, when their dream wedding was shelved, they chose to channel their creativity and funds into birthing a film that resonates with many.
In “Bless Me, Father,” you won’t find seasoned actors. Instead, you’ll be introduced to everyday New Jersey locals like Giacomo Vanacore, who stars as Antonio in the film, actually owns an Italian Restaurant “La Sorrentina” in North Bergen. Or Paris Branda, the Don in the movie, is a real estate broker in Hoboken. And Joseph McLaughlin, the priest in the film, is a college Professor at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City. There are several other local non-actors whose personalities are a mirror image of their character in the film. This is not just a casting choice but a deliberate attempt to immerse viewers in the undiluted essence of New Jersey’s mob world. It’s about vulnerability, real emotions, and the power of dreams.
Perhaps what’s most enchanting about the film is how it became a collective dream. As Gianni McLaughlin stated, “… Instead of just my dream, it becomes our dream, and our dream is a whole lot more powerful than just mine alone. Everyone on set was not just in the same movie together during the day, but when we all closed our eyes at night, we were in the same place as well.” But “Bless Me Father” isn’t just about authentic casting and neorealism. It has garnered significant acclaim. From numerous awards to stellar reviews on platforms like IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, and Amazon Prime Video, the film has made an indelible mark in the hearts of its audience.
It’s a testament to the film’s brilliance that in a time when Hollywood was plagued with strikes and an uncertain future, “Bless Me Father” stood as a beacon of hope. It showcased that sometimes, to create something truly exceptional, one doesn’t need mega budgets or star-studded casts. Sometimes, all it takes is genuine passion, a devoted team, and the heart to tell a story that touches souls.
Gianni and Milly-May McLaughlin are more than just filmmakers; they’re storytellers who, amidst a global crisis, found a silver lining. Their film serves as an emblematic representation of a community coming together when the world outside felt disconnected and fragmented.
The movie is available to rent or buy on Prime Video. To dive deeper into their journey and experience the riveting tale of “Bless Me, Father,” visit their official website. For more updates and behind-the-scenes glimpses, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.