Yudie, a sprightly Jewish woman who was born on the Lower Eastside, takes us into her confidence as she walks to work from Bleecker Street, runs errands on Orchard Street, and observes the human condition as it is lived on her beloved streets of New York. Yudie’s life began during the early 20th century wave of European immigration to the U.S. She came of age amidst the fervor of the Labor Movement and entered womanhood as a New Deal progressive who embraced the ideals of never fail her, Yudie delivers pearls of wisdom to the audience. Her key advice for a long life and well-being? ‘Eat a piece of fruit!’
Yudie was at the forefront of both indie docs reaching the mainstream via the most prestigious festivals/awards circuit (“Best received in the NY Film Festival” – Variety), international exposure, and primetime television broadcast (PBS). Yudie was also among the flagship Second-Wave Feminism films and was immediately invited into the ‘upstart’ women’s film collective -New Day Films. Made over 45 years ago, Yudie has something like iconic status -Less than 2 years ago the film became part of the prestigious Tell Me: Women Filmmakers, Women’s Stories series on the Criterion Channel. Richard Brody wrote in the New Yorker: “(the series) …opens portals to another dimension in the history—and, for that matter, the future—of cinema… the film is both a time capsule of immigrant Jewish life in New York, a parsing of its mores, and a keen, frank vision of painful solitude.” The documentary premiered at the New York Film Festival, and went on to show at the Toronto International Film Festival; Edinburgh Film Festival; Grenoble Film Festival; Melbourne Film Festival
Following Yudie’s premiere at the New York Film Festival, Yudie the person – then in her 80s – catapulted into a busy movie and theater career. She got an agent, a SAG card, and began to work with major talents. Below are selected credits from that ‘second career’ – one that Yudie relished, and that lasted until her death, at age 96, in the Banks home.
Selected Film Credits:
Author, Author – with Al Pacino and Dyan Cannon – Dir: Arthur Hiller
The Survivors — with Robin Williams and Walter Matthau – Dir: Michael Ritchie
Easy money – with Rodney Dangerfield and Joe Pesci – Dir: James Signorelli
Grace Quigley — with Katherine Hepburn and Nick Nolte — Dir: Anthony Harvey
Brighton Beach Memoirs — with Blythe Danner and Judith Ivey — Dir: Gene Saks
Moonstruck – with Cher, Nicholas Cage, Olympia Dukakis — Dir: Norman Jewison
The Believers — with Martin Sheen and Helen Shaver — Dir: John Schlesinger
Enormous Changes –with Kevin Bacon, Ellen Barkin, David Strathairn – Dirs: Mirra Bank and Ellen Hovde w/Muffie Meyer
Kane & Abel
Daughters – Philadelphia Drama Guild – Dir. Tony Giordano
Filmmaker Bio: Mirra Bank is an independent film ‘lifer’ who continues to direct documentaries, fiction films, and theater. Her award-winning work has been screened widely here and abroad. She is a Lifetime Member of the Actors Studio, a member of the Academy (Doc Branch) and has served as a NYWIFT Board Member, Board President, and is a current Advisory Board Member. She is proud that her new doc feature, No Fear No Favor, received post-production support from NYWIFT.