Fikret Hakan: literary author turned movie star

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Modern storytelling is diverse. In addition to conventional oral storytelling, the authors enjoy many other styles and genres of storytelling while describing the human condition. The stage and the cinema also play a role in art. However, despite the fact that every movie depends on a script, which is actually a type of story, and that many directors are usually former or active literary writers, most actors are not good at writing. .

There are always exceptions, however. For example, actor Viggo Mortensen, who is a true global phenomenon in today’s cinema world, is also a talented poet and photographer. Gene Hackman, another phenomenal actor, has also written three novels. Likewise, it’s hard to decide whether Woody Allen is a filmmaker or an author.

Fikret Hakan (R) with actress Suzan Avcı on a film set. (File photo)

As for Turkish cinema, some famous actors such as Cüneyt Arkın, Yılmaz Güney and Fikret Hakan started making films after trying to gain a reputation in literature. All three were writers of short fiction films involved in the modernist literary movements of the 1950s, including Mavi Hareketi (the Blue Movement), initiated by the great poet Attila Ilhan, before becoming the eternal stars of YeÅŸilçam, the nickname of cinema. classic Turkish. Arkın didn’t insist on writing a lot, while Güney’s left-wing circle has always shown respect to the cult star by reposting his stories. On the other hand, Hakan turned to writing during his old age and put his signature on a large volume of Turkish cinema history.

Youth

Fikret Hakan was born Bumin Gaffar Çıtanak on April 23, 1934, in the western province of Balıkesir, into a humble family of middle-class officials. Her father Abdullah Gaffar Çıtanak, who used “A. Gaffar Güney” as a pseudonym, was a teacher and translator, while her mother Fatma Belkıs was a nurse in a public hospital. Abdullah Gaffar was a respected figure in the literary circles of the capital Ankara before leaving his wife and son and beginning to lead a mysterious life. At the time, some believed he had lost his mind, while others suggested that he had fallen in love with another woman.

Fikret Hakan is pictured while filming on set.  (File photo)

Fikret Hakan is pictured while filming on set. (File photo)

Fikret Hakan lived with his mother after his parents divorced and visited many cities in Anatolia because of his mother’s work. He attended various schools in the western provinces of Bursa, EskiÅŸehir and Istanbul, where he left school for good. His true love was for the arts. He published some short stories and performed in private theaters in Istanbul at the age of 16.

Hakan published his first stories in the Istanbul Ekspres newspaper, while his first role was in a small opera staged at the Ses Theater in 1950. He entered the world of cinema in 1952 with the film “Köprüaltı Çocuklar” (” Homeless boys “). However, he made his real debut with “Beyaz Mendil” (“White Handkerchief”), a film by the great director Lütfi Akad, in 1955. “Beyaz Mendil” was a romantic film with a realistic social setting and full of folk themes. Hakan played a brave young villager in love with a young girl from another village, while the enmity between the two villages leads to fatal outcomes.

Revenge of the snakes

Hakan served in the army between 1958 and 1960 before playing the lead role in “Yılanların Öcü” by director Metin Erksan in 1962. “Yılanların Öcü” is considered one of the best films in Turkish cinema history. The story of the film revolves around a dramatic clash between two families and resistance against oppression, the film becomes politically popular and opens a new era for Turkish cinema.

Fikret Hakan poses during an interview.  (File photo)

Fikret Hakan poses during an interview. (File photo)

Hakan starred in another leftist political film two years later, “Karanlıkta Uyananlar” (“Those Who Wake Up in the Night”), written by famous Communist author Vedat Türkali and directed by Ertem Göreç. The political film was based on real events. Like “Ylanların Öcü”, “Karanlıkta Uyananlar” has also enjoyed mixed popularity. Some loved the film, while anti-communist associations strongly criticized it, saying it was pure propaganda. From today’s perspective, most critics think the film was artistically a success of cinema realism.

Hakan remained one of the heroes of socio-political cinema of Turkey until his later years, although he also participated in various film genres including gangster movies, comedies, etc. He starred in over 200 films throughout his career.

Author, teacher

Hakan published his early stories along with his later literary works. He wrote the story of his father and also published a short collection of poems. Another interesting written work from him is a huge volume on the history of Turkish cinema. Hakan taught cinema for a few years at Osmangazi University in EskiÅŸehir.

Fikret Hakan (right) poses with actress Türkan Şoray.

Fikret Hakan (right) poses with actress Türkan Şoray.

He got married several times. His wives were Lale Sarı, Semiramis Pekkan, who is the sister of famous musical diva Ajda Pekkan, Neşecan Paşmak, famous singer and actress Hümeyra, Fatma Zeynep Mirgün and Tijen Kılıç.

Hakan has received several national and international cinema awards. In addition, Osmangazi University awarded him an honorary doctorate. He was also a recipient of the Honorary State Artist, a title awarded by the Turkish government.

He died on July 11, 2017 in Istanbul.

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