21 December 2022

500 Best Movies of All Time

In 2018, Us Weekly magazine published a special 500 Best Movies of All Time issue (vol. 18, no. 47). The top twenty-five titles are listed first, and the others are classified by genre. The films are organised alphabetically within these categories, and are not ranked. The list features more than 500 titles, as some series—the Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises; The Naked Gun and Kill Bill and their sequels—are counted as single entries.

Us Weekly is a mainstream entertainment magazine, so the selection is weighted in favour of popular Hollywood movies; as the editors wrote in their introduction: “we tried to pay attention not just to what critics like, but to what audiences like as well.” There are a handful of foreign-language titles, including Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette, classified rather literally as a crime film), and just one silent film (Metropolis, listed under drama rather than science-fiction).

Us Weekly’s top twenty-five films are as follows:
  • Avatar
  • Black Panther
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • Casablanca
  • Chinatown
  • Citizen Kane
  • E.T. the Extra-terrestrial
  • Get Out
  • The Godfather
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Harry Potter
  • Inception
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • National Lampoon’s Animal House
  • Psycho
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Raging Bull
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Rocky
  • Scarface
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Star Wars IV: A New Hope
  • Titanic
  • Toy Story
  • The Wizard of Oz
(Titanic is the 1997 blockbuster, Psycho is the 1960 masterpiece, and Scarface is the 1983 remake. Harry Potter refers to all eight films in the series.)

Empire and Total Film magazines have also published top-500 film lists, as did the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph newspapers. Empire later revised its list for its Australian edition, and also published a collection of 500 five-star reviews. Not to be outdone, Dateline Bangkok has its own list of 500 classic films.

19 December 2022

Fear Eats the Soul

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Angst essen Seele auf), arguably Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s greatest film, is showing at Doc Club and Pub in Bangkok from this week. Alongside Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog, Fassbinder was one of the leading figures of the 1970s German new wave (das neue Kino), and his death from a drug overdose effectively marked the end of the movement.

Ali was heavily influenced by Douglas Sirk’s Hollywood melodrama All That Heaven Allows (which also inspired the Todd Haynes film Far from Heaven). It will be screened at Doc Club on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th December this year; and 2nd, 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 17th, 18th, 23rd, 24th and 30th January, and 1st February next year. It will also be shown at Bookhemian in Phuket on 14th January 2022. (It was previously shown at the Thai Film Archive earlier this year.) Doc Club is also currently showing two other classics: The Passion of Joan of Arc (La passion de Jeanne d’Arc) and Chronicle of a Summer (Chronique d’un été).

18 December 2022



Kongkraphan, the new album by artist and musician Pisitakun Kuantalaeng, commemorates the military’s violent suppression of red-shirt demonstrators in 2010. The titles of each of the eight tracks refer to dates on which protesters were shot by the army, and they include samples of audio recorded during the protests. The album title translates as ‘invulnerable’, a reference to the military’s impunity.

The opening track, 10/04/2010, begins with the sound of a protester on 10th April 2010 imploring the soldiers: “Why are you shooting?” The remaining seven tracks cover the final week of the conflict, from 13th to 19th May 2010, with each song representing a different day (13/5/2010, 14/05/2010, 15/05/2010, 16/05/2010, 17/05/2010, 18/05/2010, and 19/05/2010). 13/5/2010 revisits the death of Khattiya Sawasdipol, a former army officer who was shot by a sniper after he joined the red-shirts. A prolonged car horn can be heard in 15/05/2010; the driver was shot, and his head slumped onto the steering wheel, setting off the horn. 18/05/2010 was previously released on the album Tetra Hysteria Manifesto.

Pisitakun previously documented the final week of the massacre in a series of posters and stickers, released as a box set titled Ten Year: Thai Military Crackdown [sic] marking the tenth anniversary of the events. His album Absolute Coup was equally political, with each track named after the various institutions that he deemed responsible for laying the groundwork for Thailand’s numerous military coups.

13 December 2022

Arcadia Rooftop Cinema

Arcadia Rooftop Cinema

Bangkok’s new Arcadia bar, run by journalist Todd Ruiz, is launching a weekly Rooftop Cinema programme of open-air film screenings. One of the first films will be Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, showing on 18th December, followed by the classic action movie Die Hard on Christmas Day.

2001 has previously been shown at the Scala cinema in 2017 and at the Thai Film Archive in 2013. Die Hard was screened at Cinema Winehouse in 2019 and at Bangkok Screening Room in 2019.

12 December 2022

On Going / Going On

On Going / Going On

Director Pen-ek Ratanaruang, documentarian and producer Santi Taepanich, and theatrical troupe Theatre to Go have collaborated on On Going / Going On, which opened on 9th December. The group exhibition runs until 28th February next year.

The exhibition is being held at Noble Play, which is appropriate as the show is a tactile experience that encourages participation: while many exhibitions place lines on the floor, preventing visitors from approaching the artworks, in On Going / Going On the lines are marked “PLEASE CROSS”. There’s also a table with eccletic objects to rummage through, from preserved animals (a frog and cockroach) to vintage gadgets.

Pleasure and Pain On Going / Going On

Pen-ek’s graphic novel Trouble in Paradise is on display, as are plenty of his drawings (collectively titled Pleasure and Pain) and the entire text of his new script, Storm (ครัวแม่สะอิ้ง). Another series of his drawings was previously shown at the Bangkok Art Biennale (บางกอก อาร์ต เบียนนาเล่) in 2020. Pen-ek’s most recent film was Samui Song (ไม่มีสมุยสำหรับเธอ); I interviewed him about his earlier work, such as Paradoxocracy (ประชาธิป'ไทย), Headshot (ฝนตกขึ้นฟ้า), and Nymph (นางไม้), for Thai Cinema Uncensored.

In addition to his table of objets trouvés, Santi has created a collage that resembles a mood board, including a poster of the classic film A Man Called Tone (โทน). Santi is the brother of comedian Udom Taephanich, and he produced many of Udom’s stand-up shows. He has also directed several documentaries—including เนื้อกับหนัง (‘flesh and skin’)—about the making of Pen-ek’s films, and a segment of the portmanteau film Sawasdee Bangkok (สวัสดีบางกอก).

15th World Film Festival of Bangkok

15th World Film Festival of Bangkok

The 15th World Film Festival of Bangkok (เทศกาลภาพยนตร์โลกแห่งกรุงเทพฯ ครั้งที่ 15) opened on 2nd December, and closed yesterday with an award for veteran Thai New Wave director Apichatpong Weerasethakul and the Thai premiere of Sorayos Prapapan’s Arnold Is a Model Student (อานนเป็นนักเรียนตัวอย่าง). There had been a five-year hiatus since the 14th festival, which was held in 2017.

In his acceptance speech, Apichatpong recalled the Ministry of Culture’s dismissal of his work, and told young directors, in both Thai and English, “don’t give a damn” about such attitudes. Phantoms of Nabua (ผีนาบัว), perhaps Apichatpong’s greatest short film, will be shown at the Thai Film Archive in Salaya on 23rd December as part of the 26th Thai Short Film and Video Festival (เทศกาลภาพยนตร์สั้นครั้งที่ 26).

Kriengsak Silakong, the World Film Festival’s founder and organiser, sadly died earlier this year, and the Lotus award for lifetime achievement has been renamed in his honour. (Kriengsak’s final public appearance was in February this year, when he interviewed Apichatpong at the Thai premiere of Memoria.) Like the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th festivals, this year’s event was held at CentralWorld’s SF World cinema. (The 6th, 7th, and 8th festivals were held at Paragon Cineplex; the 5th, 9th, and 10th took place at Esplanade Cineplex.)

Arnold Is a Model Student

Over the past decade, Sorayos has made witty, satirical short films such as Dossier of the Dossier (เอกสารประกอบการตัดสินใจ), Auntie Maam Has Never Had a Passport (ดาวอินดี้), and New Abnormal (ผิดปกติใหม่). He has also dabbled in documentary filmmaking, with Prelude of the Moving Zoo and Yellow Duck Against Dictatorship. His debut feature Arnold Is a Model Student combines both of these elements, sharp satire mixed with found footage. The film was conceived in the aftermath of the 2014 coup, when the military’s authority was accepted unquestioningly by large swathes of the population. Eight years later, the film is complete and the junta leader remains in power.

The eponymous Arnold coasts through his final school year, while his classmates rebel against institutional authoritarianism, personified by the matronly teacher Ms Wanee, who tells them: “Know your place and you will be successful.” This somewhat feudalistic attitude persists in wider Thai society, and is inculcated by an education system that encourages conformity. The film’s parody of a traditional instructional video—“How to Behave Elegantly Like a Thai”, in which Ms Wanee teaches students to prostrate before their elders—seems absurd, though it’s based on a real video made by the Ministry of Culture (as seen in the documentary Censor Must Die/เซ็นเซอร์ต้องตาย).

The film’s high school is a microcosm of Thailand—as in the recent music videos อีกไม่นาน นานแค่ไหน (‘how long is ‘soon’?’) and อนาคตคือ (‘the future is...’)—and the connection to contemporary politics is clear. Arnold attends a REDEM rally, and symbols of state authority are visible throughout the school, from a large portrait of Rama X in the headmaster’s office to the number 112 on a table in the computer lab. (The lèse-majesté law is article 112 of the criminal code.) When the fictional high school students organise a protest, their headmaster orders them back to class. Cut to: documentary footage of water cannon being deployed against anti-government protesters, with riot police shouting “Disperse now!”

08 December 2022

Lawrence of Arabia


Bangkok’s Prince Theatre hotel will screen the classic Hollywood epic Lawrence of Arabia on 10th December. It was previously shown at the Prince Theatre in 2020, and has played at various other Bangkok cinemas over the last decade: at Cinema Winehouse in 2015 and 2018, the Scala cinema in 2016, and Bangkok Screening Room in 2017

The Prince Theatre was established as a cinema in 1917, and was converted into a film-themed hotel a year after its centenary, in 2018. The cinema screen has been retained, though the auditorium is now the hotel bar.

06 December 2022

The Passion of Joan of Arc

The Passion of Joan of Arc

The Passion of Joan of Arc (La passion de Jeanne d’Arc) will be shown at Doc Club and Pub this month. The boutique Bangkok cinema will be screening Carl Dreyer’s silent classic on 8th, 10th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 23rd December, and Christmas Day this year; and 2nd, 12th, 18th, 24th and 30th January next year. (Jean Rouch’s documentary Chronicle of a Summer/Chronique d’un été is also showing this month at the same venue.)

The Passion of Joan of Arc has been shown numerous times in Bangkok over the past decade: an open-air screening in 2018 at Bangkok Underground Cinema, a gala Silent Film Festival screening at the Scala cinema, at Jam Ciné Club, and a 2012 Design Nation open-air screening. It was also shown at Bangkok Screening Room (which established the cinema space now occupied by Doc Club) in 2020.

02 December 2022

No God No King Only Human

No God No King Only Human, edited and published by Korn Karava, was launched at the 2022 Bangkok Art Book Fair last week. Limited to 500 numbered copies (mine being no. 340), it features photographs of anti-government, pro-reform protests taken over the past two years.

Visually speaking, the protests are inherently photogenic, with swirling tear gas deployed by riot police and fireworks used as projectiles by demonstrators. (Nontawat Numbenchapol’s Thalugaz documentary Rarely Make History includes equally spectacular imagery.) But, as the book reminds us, this is the aesthetics of violence, and other photographs document the impact of rubber bullets fired by the police.

There have been other books with photographs of the protests, such as There’s Always Spring (เมื่อถึงเวลาดอกไม้จะบาน), EBB, and #WhatsHappeningInThailand, all of which are small, slim paperbacks. No God No King Only Human, on the other hand, is a lavish coffee-table book. (It’s the first in a potential series of volumes on Thai art and politics.)

The title is a slogan adapted from the video game BioShock. (Appropriating popular culture is a notable aspect of the demonstrations, from the three-finger salute taken from The Hunger Games to the Bottom Blues song 12345 I Love You.) The title of Elevenfinger’s CD No God No King Only Humans is based on the same slogan.

The Greatest Films of All Time

Sight and Sound

Sight and Sound magazine has announced the results of its 2022 critics’ and directors’ polls, The Greatest Films of All Time. There have been dozens of similar polls, based on votes by either critics or the public—Dateline Bangkok has featured every greatest-film list published since 2005—though Sight and Sound’s list is the first and most authoritative of them all. The magazine compiled its original list in 1952, with Bicycle Thieves (Ladri di biciclette) being the inaugural winner. For fifty years, starting in 1962, Citizen Kane was in first place, until it was overtaken by Vertigo in 2012.

This year’s result is much more surprising, with Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles at the top of the new list. As Laura Mulvey writes in the magazine’s latest issue (vol. 33, no. 1), “Vertigo had been gradually closing in on Citizen Kane for decades; Jeanne Dielman has appeared from nowhere.” 2001: A Space Odyssey came first in the directors’ poll, replacing Tokyo Story (東京物語), and the full results of both polls are included in the new issue of the magazine.

Sight and Sound

The Sight and Sound critics’ top ten is as follows:

1. Jeanne Dielman
2. Vertigo
3. Citizen Kane
4. Tokyo Story
5. In the Mood for Love
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
7. Beau travail
8. Mulholland Drive
9. Man with a Movie Camera
10. Singin’ in the Rain

01 December 2022

The Will to Remember

The Will to Remember The Will to Remember

Charinthorn Rachurutchata’s photographic series The Will to Remember features press photos of the 6th October 1976 massacre of Thammasat University students, and images of the student protest movement that began in 2020. Each of the photographs in the series has been torn and restored using the Japanese kintsugi method, whereby gold lacquer is used as a bonding agent.

Rather than producing conventional seamless repairs, kintsugi highlights the seams as a fundamental aspect of the repaired object. Discussion of the Thammasat massacre was suppressed for decades, and Charinthorn’s kintsugi seams symbolise resilience to such suppression. The act of tearing the prints mirrors the violence of the massacre, in which the victims’ bodies were desecrated.

The Will to Remember The Will to Remember
The Will to Remember The Will to Remember

Alongside the black-and-white images from 1976 are colour photos of recent student protests. The juxtaposition of different generations of students—those killed at Thammasat, and those currently campaigning for democracy—reveals the cyclical nature of Thai political history. The series also includes a portrait of King Rama IX, and his image is blurred to suggest the opacity of his role in Thai politics.

The Will to Remember was part of this year’s touring World Press Photo exhibition. Several of the photographs are included in the World Press Photo 2022 yearbook (pp. 184–185).

29 November 2022

Mob Type —
บันทึกการต่อสู้ของประชาชน ผ่านศิลปะตัวอักษร
(‘recording the people’s struggle through the art of lettering’)

Mob Type 33712

The design collective PrachathipaType—a pun on prachathipatai, the Thai word for ‘democracy’—specialises in pro-democracy typefaces. Working with some of the organsiations leading the recent anti-government protests, they have effectively created the visual identity of the reform movement. The new book Mob Type – บันทึกการต่อสู้ของประชาชน ผ่านศิลปะตัวอักษร (‘recording the people’s struggle through the art of lettering’) is a collection of these type specimens and logos, and it was launched at the 2022 Bangkok Art Book Fair (which ran from 25th–27th November at Bangkok CityCity Gallery).

PrachathipaType designed a new font, PrachathipaTape (ประชาธิปะเทป), for Rap Against Dictatorship’s music video Homeland (บ้านเกิดเมืองนอน). They also collaborated with the band on แบบเรียนพยัญชนะไทย (‘Thai consonant textbook’). Their 33712 typeface (named after the ฿33.712 billion allocated for the monarchy in the national budget) was used to recreate a notice from a leaked photograph published by the German newspaper Bild (‘picture’) in 2019. The 33712 typeface also appears in Rap Against Dictatorship’s music video Budget (งบประมาณ).

Patani Colonial Territory

Patani Colonial Territory Patani Colonial Territory

Thai police yesterday raided a coffee shop in Yala province and seized sets of a new card game, Patani Colonial Territory. The officers arrived at the cafe, in Bannang Sata market, at 5pm. The owner initially refused to cooperate with them, as a search warrant had not been obtained, though after several hours of questioning at the local police station, the game was confiscated pending an investigation.

The game was designed as an educational tool, to provoke discussion about the contested history of the Patani region. (‘Patani’ refers to a formerly independent Malay Muslim sultanate that is now part of Thailand. Therefore, beyond the southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat—which comprise the Patani region—‘Patani’ is regarded as a controversial, politicised term with separatist connotations.)

Patani Colonial Territory was produced by the game company Chachiluk in collaboration with the book publisher KOPI, funded by the Progressive Movement’s Common School project. It has not yet gone on sale to the public, though it has already been criticised by the royalist Thai Pakdee Party whose leader, Warong Dechgitvigrom, lodged a complaint against it at the Ministry of Interior yesterday.

The Patani region was represented by a major exhibition in 2017, Patani Semasa (ปาตานี ร่วมสมัย), though the organisers considered it too sensitive to release an exhibition catalogue at the time. (It was eventually published in Malaysia when the exhibition transferred there in 2019.) Jehabdulloh Jehsorhoh’s art also deals with Patani politics and society, and a monograph of his work, The Patani Art of Struggle (ศิลปะปาตานี วิถีแห่งการดิ้นรน), was published in 2020.

28 November 2022

There’s Always Spring

There’s Always Spring (เมื่อถึงเวลาดอกไม้จะบาน), published last month by Mob Data Thailand, provides a record of the current anti-government protest movement. Mob Data Thailand collates details of all rallies held throughout the country, and the book highlights the major demonstrations that have taken place over the last two years.

There’s Always Spring is particularly valuable as a record of the origins of the protest movement, which was triggered by the dissolution of the Future Forward Party in February 2020. This is in contrast to other books on the protests, namely EBB and #WhatsHappeningInThailand, which focus only on the period from mid-2020 onwards.

What all three books have in common are their optimistic titles. There’s Always Spring suggests that the winter of repression is coming to an end. (Its epilogue, Winter Never Lasts Forever/ไม่มีอะไรคงอยู่ตลอดไป, states this more directly.) Similarly, EBB refers to ‘ebb and flow’ (the sense that receding waves, like persecuted protesters, will eventually return), and #WhatsHappeningInThailand’s subtitle is และแล้วความหวังก็ปรากฏ (‘and then hope appeared’).

25 November 2022

Chronicle of a Summer

Chronicle of a Summer

Doc Club and Pub, the boutique Bangkok cinema, will be screening the classic Chronicle of a Summer (Chronique d’un été) every day from today until 7th December, and on 9th, 11th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 19th, 20th December, and Boxing Day; and 9th January 2022. This self-reflexive documentary is an experiment in cinematic truth, which director Jean Rouch readily acknowledged was a contradiction in terms. It was the first example of cinéma vérité, a French movement that developed in parallel with the non-participatory ‘direct cinema’ approach pioneered in the US. Chronicle of a Summer, one of Dateline Bangkok’s 100 greatest films, was previously shown by Doc Club at Warehouse 30 in 2018.

24 November 2022

A Message from Ukraine:
Speeches, 2019–2022

A Message from Ukraine

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24th February, Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky has recorded daily video addresses to his people and delivered more than 100 speeches to international forums. A Message from Ukraine: Speeches, 2019–2022, an authorised anthology sold to raise money for the war effort, reprints sixteen of his speeches in translation, beginning with his inaugural parliamentary address after his landslide election victory in 2019.

Whichever country he addresses as he pleads for military support, Zelensky—or rather, his chief speechwriter, Dmytro Lytvyn—tailors his message to suit his audience. So, he quoted Winston Churchill to the British parliament and Martin Luther King to the US Congress. His historical analogies are also tailor-made. Speaking to the German Bundestag, he compared Russia’s gas pipline to the Berlin Wall; addressing the Israeli Knesset, he cited Russian propaganda that evoked the Holocaust.

In his introduction to the book, Zelensky describes his message as “abrupt, intense, jarring.” The contrast with his former career, as a comedy actor, couldn’t be more stark. (Life imitated art, after he played an unlikely president in his sitcom Servant of the People/Слуга народу.) Of course, he writes with optimistic fervour about victory over Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling A Message from Ukraine “a book about how we can build the future.”

22 November 2022

“What can’t be fixed is the mental illness of the prime minister...”

Ehud Olmert

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister and winner of the country’s 1st November election, has won his defamation case against another former PM, Ehud Olmert. Tel Aviv Magistrates’ Court yesterday awarded Netanyahu 62,000 shekels ($17,850) in compensation, though this was less than 10% of the 837,000 shekels he had sued for.

In an interview with Gadi Sukenik on the show המהדורה המרכזית (‘the main edition’), Olmert said that Netanyahu was mentally ill: “What can’t be fixed is the mental illness of the prime minister and his wife and son.” The interview was broadcast by Democrat TV on 12th April last year. In a second interview nine days later, on Keshet 12’s Ofira and Berkovich (אופירה וברקוביץ') show, he refused to retract the claim and scoffed at the prospect of being sued by Netanyahu.

19 November 2022

APEC 2022

Giant Swing

The regional APEC summit is currently taking place in Bangkok, and anti-government protesters yesterday held a demonstration near Democracy Monument. They also beheaded Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in effigy with a cardboard guillotine attached to the Giant Swing. (The stunt was photographed by Prachatai and filmed by Khaosod English.)

Riot police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters, one of whom was blinded in one eye after being hit by a rubber bullet at close range. (Similarly, Tanat Thanakitamnuay was also blinded after being hit by a rubber bullet at a protest last year.) This was the first use of rubber bullets by riot police since June.

Democracy after Death:
The Tragedy of Uncle Nuamthong Praiwan

The Power of Doc

There will be a rare screening of Neti Wichiansaen’s film Democracy after Death: The Tragedy of Uncle Nuamthong Praiwan (ประชาธิปไตยหลังความตาย เรื่องเศร้าของลุงนวมทอง) tomorrow in Chiang Mai. The documentary covers almost a decade of divisive Thai politics, a period bookended by the coups of 2006 and 2014. It describes the 2010 military crackdown as “the most brutal political massacre in Thai history” and—like Thunska Pansittivorakul’s The Terrorists (ผู้ก่อการร้าย)—it blames former prime minister Abhisit personally for the incident: “Directly responsible, Abhisit Vejjajiva holds Thailand’s new record of the number of people shot by the military.”

The film is significant for its inclusion of sensitive political events excluded from Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s Paradoxocracy (ประชาธิป'ไทย). It also serves as a counterpoint to Ing Kanjanavanit’s Bangkok Joyride (บางกอกจอยไรด์): whereas Bangkok Joyride endorses the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, Democracy after Death is equally biased in favour of deposed PM Thaksin Shinawatra, noting sympathetically that he “was forced to leave and has had to remain outside Thailand” though ignoring his corruption conviction. These events are all narrated in a voiceover addressed to Nuamthong Praiwan, a pro-democracy protester who committed suicide in 2006. Nuamthong was also the subject of Prap Boonpan’s short film Letter from the Silence (จดหมายจากความเงียบ), Rap Against Dictatorship’s recent music video 16 ปีแล้วไอ้สัส (‘it’s been 16 years, ai sat’), and a painting by Uthis Haemamaool.

Democracy after Death’s director is living in exile, due to an outstanding lèse-majesté prosecution. As in Narayana’s Arrow Spaceship (ยานศรนารายณ์), the film’s credits have been self-censored to avoid potentially incriminating any of the cast or crew. It will be shown in an open-air screening at Suan Anya tomorrow evening, as part of The Power of Doc, a weekend of political documentaries showing at various venues around Chiang Mai University.

15 November 2022



When Madonna released her notorious picture book Sex in 1992, she caused a worldwide sensation. Never before had a mainstream entertainer (let alone an A-list celebrity as famous as Madonna) posed for such explicit photographic portraits. Thirty years later, the book is finally being reprinted, and a selection of Steven Meisel’s photographs will be on show at Saint Laurent Rive Droit in Miami, Florida later this month.

Sex remains perhaps the most sought-after illustrated book ever published. Madonna has always been provocative but Sex attracted an unprecedented level of controversy and led to an unexpected backlash. Madonna responded to her critics in the Human Nature music video: “Absolutely no regrets.” She later reinvented herself as a children’s author, writing The English Roses Collection.