Joan Baez: I Am a Noise

Karen O'Connor, Miri Navasky, Maeve O'Boyle, USA, 2023o


Since her debut at the age of 18, musician, civil rights campaigner and activist Joan Baez has been on stage for over 60 years. For the now 82-year-old, the personal has always been political, and her friendship with Martin Luther King and her pacifism have shaped her commitment. In this biography that opens with her farewell tour, Baez takes stock in an unsparing fashion and confronts sometimes painful memories.

This is not the first documentary about Joan Baez. But now, at the end of her career, the 82-year-old musician is obviously willing to take stock. The film is framed by Baez's farewell tour in 2019 and uses a wealth of documentary material to revisit the singer's eventful career, which saw her rise to fame at the Newport Folk Festival at the age of 18 and subsequently become an icon of the civil rights and further protest movements of the sixties and seventies. In this portrait film, the very private becomes more important than politics or music: Baez talks about the phobias and panic attacks she has suffered from since her childhood - the causes of which are hinted at towards the end of the film. The intimately personal tone is also due to Baez's diary entries, drawings, letters and audio tapes (including a recording of a family therapy session), which the three co-directors draw on. The fact that Baez is so enjoyable to listen to is also due to how unpretentiously and self-critically she talks about herself and others. And yes, Bob Dylan broke her heart when he denied her on camera during the 1965 tour of England. Euphoria was usually followed by deep depression, her love story with Dylan is also characterized by this logic.

Kathrin Halter


Movie Datao

Documentary , Music/Dance
Running time
113 Min.
Original language
ØYour rating7.0/10
IMDB user:
7.0 (442)
< 10 votes
< 3 votes q

Cast & Crewo

Joan BaezSelf
Mimi FariñaSelf (archive footage)
Bob DylanSelf (archive footage)
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