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Joan Baez opens up about new documentary ‘Joan Baez: I Am a Noise’

Gerald Matzka/picture alliance via Getty Images

The new Joan Baez documentary Joan Baez: I Am a Noise premieres Friday at the Berlin Film Festival, and the legendary folk singer tells Variety she looks at the film as her “third memoir.”

“I’ve written one in my twenties, and one in my thirties,” the 82-year-old shares. “It’s probably what would’ve happened if I had written a memoir at this point in my life.”

The film follows Baez on her 2018 Fare Thee Well final concert, combined with footage from Baez’s vast personal archives, touching on subjects like the child abuse she endured from her father, as well as her relationship with Bob Dylan, who she says “broke her heart.”

Asked if she is still in touch with Dylan, she says “not really,” adding, “But it so much doesn’t matter. Whatever resentment I might have had hanging on there [inside myself] for all those years” is in the film. 

She says she actually wrote Dylan a letter telling him she was over it, sharing, “I just wanted him to know how much he meant to me. How much his music had meant to me. And I may never see him again, and that’s okay too.”

As for whether Baez has really given up performing for good, it sounds like she has no intention of going back on her decision. She says of the two guitars she used on tour, one was given away and the other is hanging on her wall: “I haven’t touched it since the end of the last tour.”

“I came home, and I never played the guitar again,” she says. “I hung it up on the wall, and I’ve sung under duress a few times, but not really, I just went into other things. I’m drawing and painting.”

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