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On the eve of what would have been Anthony Bourdain's 62nd birthday, CNN aired the final episode of his much-beloved travel show Parts Unknown. The episode centered on Bourdain's journey through the Southeast Asian nation of Bhutan — and contained a series of fitting, and now apparently prophetic, themes and messages.
Working with Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky, Bourdain's last episode covered the attitudes of Bhutan's people to the concept of death: Someone tells the host that Buddhism urges that believers “not to take things too seriously. This is, in fact, an illusion." Bourdain's response: “Life is but a dream."
Speaking over a shot of a mountain landscape, Bourdain continued: “It is considered enlightening and therapeutic to think about death for a few minutes a day."
Aronofsky wrote for CNN, "It seems ironic now that on our last day of shooting we performed a Bhutanese death ritual. We debated the fate of the country, the fate of the world. He was perplexed as to how mankind’s endless hunger to consume could be curtailed. ‘Don’t we all want flat screen TV’s?’"
Aronofsky ended his piece with a story of the pair's wild 36-hour journey home from the shoot, and a tribute to Bourdain: "Thank you for letting me tag along and witness a master storyteller shape the unexpected into the relatable and unforgettable.
I will never forget how passionate you were about life and this world. You loved love, cinema, food, artists, people, idiosyncrasies, pain, relief, martial arts, chefs, music, the Lower East Side. You loved the whole damn world (even the parts you despised). And the whole world loved you."
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