Charlotte Bence | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Charlotte Bence

Productions at Central




Project Title

Negotiating the death of the other: Interrogating the functions of violence in film


Dr. Tony Fisher


BFA Syracuse University, Acting and History (Double Major)

MA The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media


The analysis of film violence is largely categorized by a binary of right and wrong. However, a closer examination of film violence reveals an essential dialectic between law and violence. Violence can be both legitimate and illegitimate depending upon its function. For example, in the case of revolution, violence can be seen as a necessary component to anti-colonial struggle; whereas in the case of the War on Terror, the torture of terrorist suspects is viewed as criminal.

My thesis uses philosophy to interrogate the functions of violence in film. Using a Mullarkian framework, I concur that film can think philosophically in its own medium and I initiate an interrogation of the functions of violence through five case studies. Each of these case studies takes up a philosophical approach to violence and uses that particular philosophy as a methodological template through which to interrogate the cinematic representation of violence. At the heart of this investigation is the relationship of violence and law, a relationship which justifies and legitimates the use of violence on one hand, while condemning its use in other scenarios.    


I am a writer and researcher from NYC living and working in London. Having worked in indie film on both sides of the pond, I came to London to pursue a Masters in Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media (RCSSD). There on assignment, I begin reading philosophy (Agamben, Hegel…) and got hooked. Having always been a gangster film aficionado, my research looks at the relationship of law and violence and its function in the cinematic representation of violence.

While pursing a PhD at RCSSD, I freelance as an associate producer at Media Mayhem, a media production company. I also curate events on film and philosophy – a revolutionary film event which engages with the work of Frantz Fanon (at Waterstones in June 2016) and the Peckham Film Open, which explores the inventive and the radical in emerging indie filmmaking.

I teach as a Visiting Lecturer at RCSSD on the MA WSBM course, and have taught as a creative writing workshop leader (HM Prison Feltham & Pennyhooks, a care farm for Autism). I have worked previously at Managing Mayhem, a theatrical and live events company (Walter Sickert and the Three Graces, V&A Museum, The Boy Who Climbed Out of his Face, Shunt Jetty and the Olivier Awards). I have also written a chapter for the edited book: Framing Violence: Borders, Conflicts, and Identities (Cambridge Scholars, 2016).


2016 Production Manager, The Norther Paradigm, (director Mark Hall)

2015 Critic of the film The Assassin (2015, dir. Hou Hsiao-Hsien), Outside the Box (TV show hosted by Lliana Bird and Sade Giliberti, National Film and Television School, UK)

2015 Historical researcher, The Heartbreak Hotel, (Managing Mayhem)

2014 Historical researcher, The Boy Who Climbed Out of his Face (Managing Mayhem and Shunt)

2013 Historical researcher, Walter Sickert and the Three Graces (V&A, Managing Mayhem)

2013 Talent handler, Korean Pop Music Video Crooked (G-Dragon)

2012 Casting director, Redlegs, (director Brandon Harris), New York Times Critics Pick

Key Publications

2016 ‘Legitimacy in Motion: Homo Sacer and the State of Exception: How Torture and Military Operations Challenge the Function of Violence in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty (2012)’, In Framing Violence: Borders, Conflicts, and Identities (Cambridge Scholars, 2016). 

Conference presentations

2016 ‘All Pimp and no Presidential Candidate makes Travis a Legitimate Killer’, Film-philosophy Conference, University of Edinburgh

2015 ‘Legitimacy at 24fps.’, International Conference on Conflict, Terrorism and Society, Kadir Has University, Istanbul

2014 ‘Does the Gangster Have to Die?’ Film-Philosophy Conference 2014, University of Glasgow

Teaching areas/expertise

Film theory

Political philosophy