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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Spain

El fantasma de la sauna wraps its crazy, crazy shoot

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- This ghostly musical oozing a carefree, gay spirit is being directed by first-timer Luis Navarrete, and standing out among its cast is Antonia San Juan

El fantasma de la sauna wraps its crazy, crazy shoot
The cast of El fantasma de la sauna

On Friday 30 July, after two weeks of hard graft, principal photography wrapped in Madrid for El fantasma de la sauna (lit. “The Ghost in the Sauna”), a film directed by Luis Navarrete, who is now helming his first feature after having directed a number of short films and cutting his teeth on the second unit for the series Estoy vivo. According to the team behind it, it’s a musical tragicomedy about desire, love… and death, starring Antonia San Juan (who played the unforgettable Agrado in Pedro Almodóvar’s All About My Mother), Néstor Goenaga, Martín Spínola, Pablo Liñares, Javier Hernández, Fernando Albizu, Goizalde Núñez and Alfredo Carbajo, with appearances from Supremme de Luxe, Pupi Poisson and Tavi Gallart.

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In its synopsis, we find out how Javi (Néstor Goenaga, in his first leading role after a minor appearance in the series La línea invisible [+see also:
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, directed by Mariano Barroso) comes to the Sauna Popular in search of work in order to enable his dream of becoming a singer to come true. But the business is going through hard times, and Asun (played by Antonia San Juan), the owner, decides to take him in in exchange for his help. Soon, the lad will come to realise that everyone there is concealing dark secrets, and the biggest of these is a mysterious individual who lives in the air ducts and who ends up falling in love with the young man.

A considerable part of the shoot for this film took place in the iconic Sauna Paraíso, a meeting place for some of the gay community in Madrid. The rooms in this establishment, as well as other locations in the historic centre of the city, are “highly unique and characteristic of the classic Madrilenian architecture, and lend the movie an air of mystery and intimacy that absolutely goes hand in hand with the story,” states the director. Because this film “is a tribute to love and dreams, regardless of whom you may love or what you may desire”, Navarrete explains.

The music, comprising seven songs and an extensive soundtrack, “helps the viewers immerse themselves in this magical world, laying bare the characters’ subconscious”, in the words of Ramón Grau, the film’s composer. “In the score, you can make out the influences of the great modern Hollywood classics, such as The Phantom of the Opera and Moulin Rouge, as well as hints of operatic and post-Romantic language, musical theatre and other styles, such as pop, disco and electro,” he sums up.

Nevertheless, “Despite all of the literary, musical and cinematic references, this film will not resemble anything we’ve seen before. It’s a classic but never-before-seen musical; it’s sensitive and understated, and at the same time, it’s deeply provocative,” as underlined by Martín Spínola, who breathes life into the character of Eric and co-wrote the screenplay for this feature together with its director.

El fantasma de la sauna is a – fiercely independent – production by Sophia Network.

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(Translated from Spanish)

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