A landmark in the history of filmmaking in Turkey whose importance has been compared to that of Open City for Italian cinema, Metin Erksan’s masterpiece cast a sharp gaze on the life in the backlands of Turkey’s eastern region. When the construction of a new house causes a dispute among neighbors, the fragile social fabric of a village comes undone, as rivalries, fears, and old, unsettled scores start to emerge. Featuring a first rate ensemble cast led by Fikret Hakan, Revenge of the Snakes proposes that centuries of neglect have led the inhabitants of the region to turn on each other rather than face a common enemy. Based on a novel by Fakir Baykurt, who was himself from the region, the film was denounced as Communist propaganda and would have been banned without the personal intervention of President Cemal Gürsel. – The Film Society of Lincoln Center
Born 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… read more