Interview conducted by Leeds Beckett University Business School journalism student, Olly Bradley. The Northern Film School at Leeds Beckett is the official education partner of the 2021 Harrogate Film Festival.
The first question that comes to mind with Melania Crisan and her fantastic new romantic comedy ‘Titus and Mirabella’ is simple. How did you manage? Being the director, writer, producer and lead actor, this film is most certainly her brain-child, and despite the pressure that comes with adopting multiple roles within one film, this pressure does not show on screen.
A light-hearted, wholesome picture, ‘Titus and Mirabella’ harps back to the old Hollywood era of film, from Mirabella’s Audrey Hepburn-esque spectacles, to Titus’ hotly contested reference to Greta Garbo. The story follows the awkward courtship of Mirabella by the eponymous Titus, played by Axel Moustache, who struggles immensely to win over the cautious female lead – with many hilarious confrontations ensuing due to the pair’s charming social ineptness.
Crisan herself confesses the inspiration for her directorial debut did lie partially with films such as ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘Roman Holiday’ but draws particular focus to a more local source of influence:
“I was inspired by two older British sitcoms ‘A Fine Romance’ and ‘As Time Goes By’, both with Dame Judi Dench, so I think that’s why it has a retro feel to it” said Crisan, who won the Best Actress award at the Cyrus International Film Festival for her role in the film.
Coming from an acting background, Crisan discussed the challenges that come with adjusting to the different roles behind the camera saying, “It was very stressful, not only because I was doing all those things, but because I was doing them for the first time”.
With only four and a half days of shooting on location in Germany in 2016, Crisan admitted that she ‘had to learn a lot’ whilst in production of ‘Titus and Mirabella’, as well as the post-production – something that she had never undertaken before; impressive considering the films polished final cut.
‘Titus and Mirabella’ is a film that promises to relax and make the viewer feel at ease, something Crisan made a conscious effort to cultivate, discussing the idea of her wanting her film to be like ‘comfort food’ for her audience. In which case, it can only be said that Melania Crisan has succeeded.
The film has received recognition both internationally and within the UK, which is a testament to its artistic prowess and should be seen by any viewer wanting to enjoy a feel-good, happy film.