When chef, author, and TV host Anthony Bourdain died by suicide in 2018, it was a seismic event in the food world. In the years since his death, there have been no shortage of retrospectives and tributes, and posthumous works from the man himself, but on July 16 a documentary about his life will be hitting theaters. Roadrunner is directed by Morgan Neville, the Oscar-winning director of documentaries 20 Feet From Stardom and Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, and promises to be an “intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon.”
It’s an understatement to say Bourdain’s books, shows like Parts Unknown and No Reservations, and public persona helped reframe the way many people thought about food — that it was something worth traveling for, that something from a street cart and something from a Michelin-starred restaurant deserved equal praise, and that food was made even better once you knew its context and history. He also courted the reputation of the rebel, and spoke openly about his history of addiction.
The film features talking heads like David Chang and Eric Ripert and speaking about Bourdain’s life, with Chang saying Bourdain was on a constant mission to be a “better person.” But the documentary will be narrated by Bourdain himself, his voiceover taken from unused and archive footage to mold a narrative. It will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival later this summer.