Movie-making Turks haven’t been shy about including earthy subjects or fleshy cinematic scenes in their films since as far back as the 1950’s. That’s when street-walking prostitutes, drug-dependent harem girls, topless damsels in distress, soapy half-naked bathers, sexually provocative belly dancers, and uninvited-lovemaking first began appearing in conventional Turkish moving-pictures.
The ‘intensity’ of erotic action in conventional Turkish films escalated in the 1960’s when ‘lite’ erotic opposite-sex scenes began to heat up. And in Atif Yilmaz’s otherwise conventional Iki Gemi Yanyana (Two Ships Side by Side), the first lesbian Turkish movie scene — a scorcher for its day, in which Suzan Avci and Sevda Nur french-kissed on camera — gave Turkish movie goers a shock when it was first shown in 1963.
Female cinematic sex-symbols during the ‘Age of the Turkish Vamp’ (1950s – 1960s) included Neriman Köksal (who made 177 films between 1950 to 1995), Funda Yanar [pictured on our website as a topless dancer in Büyük Sehrin Kanunu (Big City Law, 1965] and Leyla Sayar — who, in 1960, performed a memorably bold (we are told) strip-tease act in Atif Yilmaz’s Ölüm Perdesi (Death Curtain)… But Leyla Hanim drew the line in 1972, when she realized the direction in which the seks filmleri furyasi (erotic films boom) would lead her. And after a short stint as a night club dancer, she quit the entertainment business altogether… opting instead for a simple, pious life.
But it wasn’t until 1972 that Parcali Behçet (starring action-man Behçet Nacar) — which was made in a desperate attempt by film-makers to woo audiences away from their newly acquired home TVs and back to near-empty movie theaters seats — became the first Turkish film to be produced exclusively for purposes of eroticism.
And when Parcali Behçet attracted an overflow opening-day crowd of 7,000 to its initial showing in Konya (Mevlana’s ‘hometown’, in the heart of Turkish religious conservatism) Turkish film-makers took notice (and heart). Subsequently, when the film enjoyed a 6-month run, in two side-by-side theaters smack in middle of that fair city, well, film-makers believed they’d found the holy grail. And from that time through to 1979, the production of erotik Turkish films mushroomed.
The three most popular genres for legally produced Turkish erotik films between 1972 and 1978 were Comedy, Adventure, and Murder Mystery. And they all had a not-very-well-kept secret about them in common. The secret was that Turkish actors and actresses didn’t perform the sex-act for real. They only simulated it… Men wore underwear (briefs) and camera angles were chosen to cover up the fact — sometimes without much success. Their are lots of flashes of men’s white briefs in the Turkish erotik films made between 1972 and 1978!
Any for-real sex that appeared in these films was performed by foreigners in parcalar (movie film clips) that were inserted at predictable intervals of the Turkish film. Sometimes these parcalar were made specifically for the Turkish film in which they appeared, but in most cases they were just crude cuts of foreign films — often entirely inappropriate (in focus or coloring) to the Turkish film.
That sort of erotik film-making subterfuge came to a screeching halt in 1979, when the first all-Turkish cast was filmed in the first-ever legally produced and distributed gloves-off pornographic Turkish film, Öyle Bir Kadin Ki (A Woman Like That) — directed by Naki Yurter, starring Zerrin Dogan and Levent Günsel in the leading female and male roles.