With “SaFahri”, Sky Nature is continuing the trend of presenting nature documentaries less expertly than prominently. New in Germany’s environment: Fahri Yardim.
Nature documentaries are no longer what they used to be. In the past, film researchers from Heinz Sielmann to David Attenborough to Jacques Cousteau drove around the world, mostly without an academic degree, on water, on land, in the air, explored the elements with the help of body, even life, and thus became famous at times. In the meantime, however, many non-fiction filmmakers only hold cameras that shine in front of people who have long been better known than all documentary filmmakers put together.
Hannes Jaenicke, for example, and Michael Kessler, not to mention Leonardo DiCaprio or Will Smith. What all four have in common with Morgan Freeman or Samuel L. Jackson, who both recently provided historytainment on the history of racism: Presenters like these are deeply attitude-driven, happy to protect the environment, sometimes simply out of a love of nature.
But Fahri Yardim? He’s just Fahri Yardim – a synonym for a funny guy with a refreshing penchant for self-irony.
So funny, refreshing, so self-deprecating that Sky Nature pulls him out of his Kreuzberg habitat and transports him to a place where the actor seems even more misplaced than plastic bags in the coral reef: to the four elements. “SaFahri” is the name of his expedition to the German-speaking parts of earth, water, air and fire. Equipped with a functional jacket, hiking shoe, rucksack and his Hamburg homeland idiom, he drives to Thuringia in the first of four parts and meets there – keyword earth – proven nature connoisseurs who explain life outside of populated areas to him – living in Berlin.
“Can the journey to mother earth ground me?”, This metropolitan person asks us out of conviction with an innocent dachshund look and answers four times for 45 minutes: not without my faxes. No matter how much the German-Turkish electoral capital city gets involved with the natural environment: despite all curiosity, he remains a foreign body in it, which not only enjoys the foreign body function, but savoring it.
When the Thuringian cave explorer abseils him under the national park at the beginning of the first of four episodes, Fahri screeches like girls with boys in the changing room. When the Westphalian organic farmer holds a chicken in front of his nose, he grabs it like convinced singles the big sister’s baby. When the Mecklenburg paleoecologist accompanies him into the moor, the city dweller complains of gigantic putrefactive smells.
“Just let out the hamburger in me”
Administered with his usual brash Kiez dialect brand St. Pauli, his nature document lives like the ProSieben social study “Fahri sucht das Glück” two years earlier, so from the greatest possible contrast between presenter and presented with the greatest possible empathy for both.
It is his prime part, which he is currently bringing to perfection in the Joyn series “Jerks”: just playing himself and still remaining himself. “I am someone else”, to use Arthur Rimbaud’s description of himself. He therefore “didn’t have to dig up anything,” as Nick Tschiller’s colleague Yalcin Gümer already described, “just let the hamburger out of me”.
So now Sky is letting the hamburger out in the more rural part of the republic up to the Swiss Alps. And to be honest: this is very entertaining. What it is less, however: illuminating.
Because as much as director Heiko Lange enriches the four-part series with information about forestry and climate change, water balance and environmental degradation, his self-proclaimed cynic with the child-friendly cap asks Sendung-mit-der-Maus questions: “SaFahri” is only marginally about Knowledge gains.
More central is cheerful edutainment with a pinch of Peter Lustig, two knife points Aiman Abdallah and three spoons of Bernhard Hoëcker. Because for the quick-witted Fahri, the next punchline is obviously more important than facts, but that’s okay too.
Anyone who wants to understand the impact of environmental damage on Germany’s elements is in better hands with ARD documentaries, despite the contemporary trend towards linguistic and musical overdramatization.
Those who, on the other hand, do not want to be instructed but to be amused in the specialist class will get their money’s worth at Sky Nature. “Two degrees more are not bad at first,” says Fahri Yardim to the Sylt mudflat ecologist and even completely serious. Heinz Sielmann was further along in 1950, but far less entertaining.
Fahri Yardim at ProSieben