Metin ErksanBorn in 1929, Metin Erksan is one of the first Turkish filmmakers who saw cinema as an art form apart from a mass entertaining medium. Having studied art history in Istanbul University and being the brother of a little known director named Cetin Karamanbey, Erksan found himself at a very early age in a favourable position to combine film practice with aesthetic concerns. He worked as his elder brother’s assistant for a short while and made his first debut with the script of “Binnaz” (1950) shot for Atlas Film Production Company. As many other filmmakers of the era who took the seventh art seriously, Erksan worked as a columnist in papers and film periodicals before engaging in active filmmaking. Metin Erksan’s first film as a director that also heralded the unique and controversial place he would later occupy in the history of Turkish cinema was ‘Asik Veysel’ in “Hayati” (1952). Telling the dramatic life of the famous blind poet and song writer Asik Veysel, the film was later prohibited by the censure committe for showing the Turkish land as “infertile”. With the advent of the social realist movement following the 1960 Coup d’Etat in Turkey, Erksan established himself as the “enfant prodige” of the post 60 era. Among the best films made during this period (including the Golden Bear Awarded Susuz Yaz (Dry Summer)) Erksan’s work occupy a central place. His films are the fruits of an eclectic mixture of modernist themes (i.e. individual loneliness), metaphysics (the fight of good vs evil), and notions of Marxism. As other “engagé” directors of the era who did not only saw them as artists but also as “social engineers”, Erksan played a major role in the foundation of the Union of Turkish Film Workers and the Association of Turkish Filmmakers. He was also Turkish Labour Party’s candidate of Istanbul in the General Elections of 1965. But it is important to stress that Erksan’s films are primarily praised for their aesthetic maturity which coexisted (until 1965) with a firm social commitment. Like other filmmakers who had to work within the narrow confines of the Turkish film industry, Erksan also shot commercial films to survive within the liberal minded Pine Tree (Yesilcam) system. After 1965, he gradually abandoned his social outlook and made either market oriented popular films or violent personal phantasies focusing on themes of loneliness and obsessive love. After shooting short films and serials for the Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) in the 70s, Erksan completely gave up filmmaking after 1983. He started to teach at Istanbul Mimar Sinan University and is still working there, mostly isolated from the current discussions on modern Turkish cinema.