Features Regular Columns Beyond Casual Observation BJ (Ancient Shores) on Down by Law

Beyond Casual Observation

Regular Columns: BJ (Ancient Shores) on Down by Law

BJ Rochinich plays guitar for the Morgantown, WV band Ancient Shores, who released the Step to the Edge 7" last year on A389 Recordings. Rochinich (pictured below right) lends his voice to Scene Point Blank for a new column that explores perceptions of film and art.

His turn-ons include Kafka, Calvin and Hobbes, NPR, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Frisky Dingo, and C-Span.

Click below to watch a trailer for Down by Law. Now over to BJ.

A dynamic between characters is not often taken for granted by a movie viewer, whether they realize it or not. Chemistry between actors inside the fourth wall is an essential element in an engaging film. Good character interactions invite the viewer to relate closely to the problems and themes of the film. The 1986 film Down by Law, written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, allows a viewer to experience the musings and experiences of a group of individuals dealing with imprisonment.

bj_2.jpgIf you are a lover of patient, quality interaction, you will find enjoyment here. This film does not devalue its devices by dictating that one is a medium simply for the other to exist. When watching Down by Law, I did not sense that the characters were represented in the film merely for quality dialogue to occur. Indeed the characters’ roles as prisoners were significant.

This film immediately brings to mind social interactions where two people are having a conversation yet only one is actually speaking. The person speaking may be simultaneously building up possible responses internally, but to what end?

To me, Down by Law is the silent person in the above situation and the viewer asks more questions of the film than necessary. In addition to these external questions, I believe questions of one’s own viewership may also arise. Viewers have techniques as much as filmmakers have techniques. Down by Law is a work to be viewed by its creators, as much as by its audience. The dual observance gives an even ground for both the viewer and the creator to exist. There are not rules dictated by the filmmaker. Calling to mind Henry Rollins’ comment that “once you go on tour, you become a cover band of yourself,” everyone—both the creators and the viewers—have to be focused on the observance at some point. This approach helps eliminate any notion that the viewer has missed something.

Life makes obvious that there is not always one way to get things done. In many fields: sports, music, film-making, writing, teaching, etc, it comes down to cohesiveness between all parties. There are many relationships at work, and oftentimes there can be static that disrupts the flow of energy between the storyteller, the characters, and the viewers. This static can manifest itself many ways but the goal should always be to remain cognizant only of what is given to you. At times figuring out a mystery or solving the conflict, can lessen the overall intended effect of the film.

In movie making, throwing a bunch of money at a project can succeed and can fail. There are many people who enjoy the Christopher Nolan’s world of Batman, just as people speculate about what Darren Aronofsky would do with that same premise. In the world at large, you do not always have the luxury to be an advocate for multiple sides, but in art there is that possibility. It is interesting to me to talk to someone who dislikes something I have enjoyed, or feels strongly about something that I have yet to experience. The great thing about people continuing to have access to many films would be the furthering of interpretation of tastes and ideas. The worst thing you get out of Down by Law is a good discussion afterwards. Take it for what it is.

Words: BJ Rochinich


Posted on April 10, 2012, 5:15 a.m.

KFAI - Roar of the Underground
Leave a comment
BJ (Ancient Shores) on Down by Law

Posted by BJ Rochinich on April 10, 2012, 5:15 a.m.

Share this content
Related news

Bands 1QI: MDC, Full of Hell, Ancient Shores, Destroy Nate Allen

Posted Dec. 26, 2013, 8:10 p.m.

Our newest feature here at Scene Point Blank is our semi-daily quickie Q&A: One Question Interviews. Follow us at facebook or twitter and we'll post one interview every ...

Labels A389 Recordings Sign Two New Bands

Posted Jan. 12, 2011, 3:54 a.m.

From The Inbox: First off I’m thrilled to announce the first two new bands joining A389′s ever growing family in 2011. Go listen to them both in our ...

Records Dead Poetic Working On New Songs

Posted April 17, 2005, 8:23 a.m.

After going through a little line-up change, Dead Poetic layed down a few rough mixes on some songs for their new album and will be heading back into the studio ...

KFAI - Root Of All Evil

Series: Beyond Casual Observation

A wide-ranging guest column written by BJ from Ancient Shores, mainly covering film but extending into philosophy and aesthetics too. Check out BJ's work on the A389 podcast.

More like this

The creative process in the aural sphere

Regular Columns The creative process in the aural sphere

Posted Oct. 28, 2019, 2:08 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

In this installment of Beyond Casual Observation the moving picture becomes a partner with technological advancements and forges an enduring storytelling medium. Filmmaking is a ...

John Morgan Askew on production, engineering and composing

Regular Columns John Morgan Askew on production, engineering and composing

Posted Jan. 27, 2019, 4 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

In the previous installment of Beyond Casual Observation, we visited with three films to briefly illustrate the pleasant entanglement of music and storytelling in cinema ...

Soundtrack in film

Regular Columns Soundtrack in film

Posted Sept. 30, 2018, 4:05 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

Thanks to insight from professionals in the field, and the freedom to explore the use of sound in film, Beyond Casual Observation has featured a ...

Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum

Music Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum

Posted Nov. 6, 2017, 3:23 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum is a Grammy Award-winning and Juilliard-trained composer. She was born in New York City. She grew up listening to classical music “by the ...

Jeffrey Roy on ADR mixing and Andrei Tarkovsky’s "Stalker"

Regular Columns Jeffrey Roy on ADR mixing and Andrei Tarkovsky’s "Stalker"

Posted Aug. 6, 2017, 3:56 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

Jeffrey Roy is busy. Check the link for his credits and you will see a vast list of projects. In this edition of “Beyond Casual ...

Ashley Lynch on film editing

Regular Columns Ashley Lynch on film editing

Posted July 11, 2016, 2:50 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

For this edition of Beyond Casual Observation, Ashley Lynch, owner of Burnaby, BC-based Gingerbreadgirl Post—a versatile post-production studio that specializes in genre film-editing, colour ...

BJ (Ancient Shores) on Claudio Marino

Regular Columns BJ (Ancient Shores) on Claudio Marino

Posted Feb. 21, 2016, 3:34 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

For this installment of "Beyond Casual Observation" Claudio Marino of Artax Film and Swedish band Tid took some time to speak about the processes of ...

BJ (Ancient Shores) on audio production / Shallow Grave (1994)

Regular Columns BJ (Ancient Shores) on audio production / Shallow Grave (1994)

Posted Sept. 6, 2015, 4:55 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

Jason Alberts is an audio engineer with an extensive career in post-production, along with location sound. His recent work includes mixing on Paralytic, Dead Body ...

BJ (Ancient Shores) on sound

Regular Columns BJ (Ancient Shores) on sound

Posted July 5, 2015, 3:37 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

As young as 14, Jeff King was drumming in bands and in years after would continue writing music and touring. He was the final drummer ...

BJ (Ancient Shores) on Nightbreed

Regular Columns BJ (Ancient Shores) on Nightbreed

Posted April 17, 2015, 4:39 p.m.
Beyond Casual Observation

The story of Nightbreed’s production goes back to the pre-internet days reading fangoria magazine and conversations among those who were into horror movies and ...



Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.