Cinema director and scenarist (B. 1 January 1929, Çanakkale – D. 4 August 2012, Istanbul). He completed his primary and secondary education in Istanbul. In 1952 he graduated from Istanbul University, Faculty of Letters, Department of History of Arts. He was interested in cinema at an early age. He wrote articles of cinema to various newspapers and magazines starting from 1947. In 1950 he started his cinema career by scripting Yusuf Ziya Ortaç' work titled Binnaz for Atlas Film. In 1952 he wrote articles of cinema in Dünya newspaper using the pen name “Kamera”. The same year he shot Âşık Veysel'in Hayatı / Karanlık Dünya whose scenarist was Bedri Rahmi Eyuboğlu and which was the first movie of Erksan. This movie which reflected his sensitivity of cinema and contained his realistic view of village life and poetic narration was banned by the Institute of Censorship. The producer cut various scenes and added certain scenes not shot by Erksan to the movie and released it one year later. In 1954 he directed Beyaz Cehennem / Cingöz Recai which was adapted from a detective novel of Server Bedi (Peyami Safa) and was successful in commercial terms. Subsequently he directed Yolpalas Cinayeti (1955, adaptation from Halide Edip Adıvar) and began to direct Ölmüş Bir Kadının Evrak-ı Metrukesi (1957, adaptation from Güzide Sabri), but left it to Semih Evin incomplete and went to military service..
Erksan who completed his military service in Istanbul in Army Photo-Film Center organized the movie archive of this institute. In the same period he directed two documentaries titled Dünya Havacıları Türkiye'de (1957) and Büyük Menderes Vadisi / Nehir ve Uygarlık (1958) after his military service. He pioneered the establishment of Association of Turkish Cinema Artists in 1958. Meanwhile he realized the movies of Dokuz Dağın Efesi (1958) whose scenario again faced problems of censorship and which was the product of a smooth language of cinema, Hicran Yarası (1959) in which he touched to issue of melancholy for the first time and Şoför Nebahat (1959) which carried successful traces of his social observation. Erksan realized his first major success in cinema with his Gecelerin Ötesi (1960). The work which was a successful example of social realist view told the story of a group of friends who were forced to robbery. This movie, which participated to 1961 Edinburg Film Festival, was followed by Mahalle Arkadaşları (1960), which told adventures of a gang, Oy Farfara Farfara (1960), Çifte Kumrular (1961) and Sahte Nikâh (1962). Şeytan, the first Turkish horror movie in real terms he adapted from William Peter Blatty’s novel under the same title and he shot in spite of technical impossibilities; Kuyu which is regarded as a magnum opus; Kadın Hamlet which was the most interesting experimental film of Turkish cinema brought a breath of fresh air to Turkish cinema.
Erksan again turned to the realities of village with Yılanların Öcü movie he adapted from Fakir Baykurt’s novel in 1962. He emphasized topics such as property, love, sexuality and violence with his fluent and effective narration. The movie, which was banned by the institute of censorship, could only be shown after President Cemal Gürsel watched it privately and ordered its release. Later, he received an award in 1966 Kartaca Film Festival. In 1963 Erksan screened urban environment with Acı Hayat. He combined the topic of love with social critics. Susuz Yaz he shot within the same year was once again about village life. The story, which developed around a disagreement of water, attracted attention with its visuality and originality in the way it dealt with the issues of property, sexuality and violence, more than its realism. Susuz Yaz, which received an award in 1964 Berlin Altın Ayı Film Festival was the first Turkish movie to be awarded in international area. Erksan with Suçlular Aramızda he directed in 1964 and which was awarded the next year in Milano Film Festival heavily criticized capitalist environments this time. The movie which exposed the attitudes of these environments in issues of property, sexuality and women and which included meticulously set scenes also contained elements of violence and sadism created by the passion of property.
The richest and most original Erksan movie in terms of its cinematographic language and the world it created was Sevmek Zamanı dated 1966. In that period Erksan and his friend Halit Refiğ turned towards a view they called "National Cinema". The movie showed in Erksan’s words love with its Sufi dimensions, pure passion and its transformation into tragedy step by step. It created a peak for Turkish cinema with its cinematographic language and atmosphere. Erksan after Sevmek Zamanı, which caused different interpretations, continued the topic of passion with Ölmeyen Aşk (1966) he adapted from Emily Bronte and did not regard as his own movie. However, he could not surpass a style, which approached traditional Yeşilçam melodramas.
Starting from 1970 he directed many commercial movies. In 1974-75 Erksan continued his literary adaptations for TRT in which he was specialized. He adapted works of current story writers into cinema such as Sabahattin Ali's Hanende Melek, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar's Geçmiş Zaman Elbiseleri, Samet Ağaoğlu's Bir İntihar, Sait Faik Abasıyanık's Müthiş Bir Tren and Kenan Hulusi Koray's Sazlık.
Erksan pioneered the establishment of Association of Turkish Cinema Artists as a director and scenarist. He is the founder of Syndicate of Cinema Laborers of Turkey and Association of Film Directors. He supported the establishment of İDGSA Cinema-Television Institute which gave cinema education for the first time in Turkey and contributed to found its archive. He gave lectures on Cinema Theory in this institute.
Metin Erksan passed away on the evening of 4 August 2012 at the age of 83 in Bahçelievler Medikal Park Hospital where he was treated. After the funeral organized on Tuesday, on the 7th of August in Lütfi Kırdar Congress Center, his body was inhumed upon his testament into a family tomb in Rumelihisarı Martyr’s Cemetery which was known as Nafi Baba Lodge located in the campus of Boğaziçi University, following the midday prayer in Teşvikiye Mosque.
MAIN AWARDS: “Best Movie”, Berlin Golden Bear Film Festival, 1964; “Medallion of Honor”, Carthage Movie Festival, Tunisia, 1966; “Honor Prize”, 15th Venice Film Festival, 1965; “Best Director”, Izmir International Fair 2nd Movie Festival, 1965; “Best Movie with Social Content”, Milano Film Festival; “Best Screenplay”, 2nd Turkish Movies Competition, 1961; “Best Director”, “Most Successful Movie”, 1st Adana Golden Cocoon Film Festival, 1969; “Honor Prize”, 24th Antalya Film Festival, 1987; “Honorary Professor Title”, MSÜ Senate, 1997; “Grand Prize of Culture and Arts”, T.R. Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 2003).
SOME OF HIS MOVIES: Karanlık Dünya / Âşık Veysel'ın Hayatı (1952), Beyaz Cehennem / Cingöz Recai (1954), Yol Palas Cinayeti (1955) , Yılanların Öcü (1962), Acı Hayat (1962), Çifte Kumrular (1962), İstanbul Kaldırımları (1964), Suçlular Aramızda (1964), Susuz Yaz (1964), Sevmek Zamanı (1965), Ölmeyen Aşk (1966), Bir İntihar (1973), Geçmiş Zaman Elbiseleri (1973), Hanende Melek (1973), Müthiş Bir Tren (1973), Sazlık (1973), Dağdan İnme (1973), Şeytan (1974), İntikam Meleği / Kadın Hamlet (1976), Sensiz Yaşayamam (1977), Preveze’den Önce (1982).
BOOKS: Atatürk Filmi (1989), Mare Nostrum / Bizim Deniz, Yunan Sorunu (2000), Sevmek Zamanı (1973), Kanlı Firar (1960), Ölümsüz Aşk (1995), Ölümün Ağzı (1996).
REFERENCE: İhsan Işık / Yazarlar Sözlüğü (1990, 1998) - Türkiye Yazarlar Ansiklopedisi (2001, 2004) - Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006, gen. 2. bas. 2007) - Ünlü Sanatçılar (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 5, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013), Birsen Altıner / Metin Erksan Sineması, Prof. Dr. Kurtuluş Kayalı / Metin Erksan Sinemasını Okumayı Denemek, Nijat Özön / Erksan’a ve Belgelere Göre Metin Erksan (Yeni Film, sayı 6, 2004), Agâh Özgüç / Türk Film Yönetmenleri Sözlüğü (2004), Ana Britannica (c. 8, s. 263-264), Büyük Larousse (c. 6, s. 3781), Metin Erksan'a saygı duruşu (Sabah, 19.4.2012), 2012 yılında aramızdan ayrılan ustalar (mynet.com, 16.11.2012).