Ireland, 2022, 100'
In 1992, Sinead O’Connor took the Madison Square Garden stage for the 60th anniversary of Bob Dylan, but could not sing a single note, as the audience wouldn’t let her, whistling and booing against her. The reason was the blatant gesture made by the artist a few days earlier at the SNL show, when she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II to decry widespread paedophilia in the North American Catholic Church. From that moment onwards, life for the artist once at the top of the international music scene has never been the same, and her decline has been unstoppable. Kathryn Ferguson’s Nothing Compares reconstructs this story form the start, from the early stirrings of rebellion shown by the young Irish girl, at odds with a society based on the dogma “church and family.” Today, O’Connor’s gestures – that foreshadowed present-day issues put forth by socio-political movements by decades – almost seem natural; thirty years ago, instead, they contributed to making her look like public enemy no. 1, a new Joan of Arc burned at the stake by the media. Revolutions are also made through the sacrifice of some individuals, a thankless role that the Irish singer was bound to play. Her personal and professional ‘martyrdom’ has deprived us of a unique artist, celebrated by Ferguson’s film, lest we forget.