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Tracing her stratospheric rise, this candid portrait of the legendary folk singer and civil rights activist illuminates a rich life not without its struggles.

Joan Baez is renowned for her soulful folk tracks, but she was vocal in more ways than one: she was a champion of the civil rights movement, in part due to her friendship with Martin Luther King Jr, and participated in the 1963 March on Washington. Yet her illustrious career – which, among many other achievements, helped to launch that of Bob Dylan before their relationship gave way – overshadowed her public and private battles, including anxiety as a child and trauma therapy’s confronting revelations uncovered later in life.

Premiering at the Berlinale and bookended with the musician’s final tour in 2018, Joan Baez I Am a Noise leans on a treasure trove of sources to recount Baez’s eventful life: diary entries, drawings and paintings, generous interviews, vividly preserved archival footage. Directors Karen O’Connor, Miri Navasky and Maeve O’Boyle have formed a well-rounded and frank portrait of an iconic artist against a backdrop of one of the most radical periods of the 20th century.

“What makes Joan Baez I Am a Noise stand out – both among documentaries, more generally, but also work about Baez – is its willingness to burrow into Baez’s psyche … Compelling.” – The Playlist


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