The Monkey Thieves of Aurangabad: A Reminiscence in Still and Moving Images

“These dang langur monkeys. They’ll steal any snack I got!” – An American tourist

This week David Matysiak presents the third and final chapter in his Indian cave triptych. The piece is itself divided into two sections comprised of both moving and still images.

We first become acquainted with the titular, sticky-handed langurs whom David encountered upon entering and exiting Ajanta Caves. Next, a collection of still images captured in and around Ajanta and Ellora Caves invites us to linger upon moments that David deemed arresting in his roles as documentarian and tourist.

David’s videography and the slideshow that follows prompt us to consider the implied boundaries that for him divided the spiritual repose the caves are intended to induce from the hustle-and-bustle of their immediate peripheries.

This dichotomy between inside and outside, and by implication between sacred and profane, becomes most meaningful when the two are juxtaposed together, mediated by the camera and by the observant eye of its operator.

View the previous installments in David’s series of very short films about Indian caves here and here.

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