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The Devil's Playthings


The Film


A concert of sleight-of-hand—Bach’s Goldberg Variations meets Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3—conceived as a macabre fantasy, performed by David Ben, one of the world’s foremost practitioners of card table artifice, as a tribute to his late friend, the renowned adventurer and tribal art collector, Billy Jamieson, and his collection of artifacts documenting human humiliation and cruelty.

Filmed amongst Billy’s arcane collection before it was dispersed, a crew came together to capture it all. The film was directed by Daniel Zuckerbrot, edited by Bert Kish and features original music by John Lang and a soundscape by Alan Geldart (complete with Wilhelm scream). The work also includes a post-modern explanation of the sleight-of-hand technique employed in the film, demonstrating that, in the end, there is little difference between fantasy and reality.

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