A captivating documentary about the revolutionary talent Joan Baez

Don’t expect Taylor Swift; Joan Baez is the only person who can represent that generational avatar for those who grew up in the turbulent and revolutionary 1960s. Discuss “eras”: The singer is shown navigating the past six decades, if not always easily, with amazing talent, tenacity, and courage in the documentary “Joan Baez I Am a Noise,” which is a delicate, densely layered, shockingly candid examination of the singer’s life and career.

The fact that Swift’s concert film opens on the same day as “I Am a Noise” is actually quite fitting. Baez gives viewers a chance to reflect on the long history of female guitarists who overcome many challenges, such as a persistently sexist music industry, to achieve success. In fact, Swift would be better off taking a cue from the 82-year-old Baez on how to spend the next few years of her life: Teenage sensationalism propelled both women toward a career of maximal head-messing; Baez, in particular, shows herself to be a radiant, self-aware model of how to make it through the circus with both body and soul intact.

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