"Very funny and intensely informational" - Indiewire
Gender • Equality • Women, Gender & Sexuality • LGBTQ • Democracy and Social Movements • Education & Educational Equity
"Empowering, sex positive" - The Hollywood Reporter
Date of Completion: 2020 | Run Time: 118 | Language: English | Captions: No | Includes: Transcript | Director: Maria Finitzo | Producers: Maria Finitzo, Cynthia Kane & Diane Quon
THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE is a provocative new film helping to normalize dialogue about female sexuality. The film follows diverse, intergenerational stories of women who are shattering lies about female sexual desire, bodies and power. Artist Sophia Wallace dismantles sexual “phallusy” with her groundbreaking “cliteracy” project, proving that the clitoris is as fundamental to female orgasm as it is to gender equality. Neuroscientist Dr. Stacey Dutton is committed to studying the biology of the clitoris after encountering its erasure in major anatomy textbooks. Dr. Lisa Diamond applies her 20 years of research to help students understand the implications of sexual well-being for physical and mental health. Industrial designer Ti Chang creates innovative and elegant vibrators to combat a male-dominated industry which trivializes female pleasure. The film also spotlights young women of color as they unlearn harmful mythologies in order to reclaim their sexual and personal empowerment. THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE makes the case that the way women are viewed sexually in the world cannot be separated from the way they are treated. Sexual freedom is central to the promise of human dignity, self-determination, and equality.
Educational Media Reviews Online | Ciara Healy, Librarian for Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University
Highly Recommended “The Dilemma of Desire would be an excellent film to accompany a campus event like Vagina Monologues, PRIDE, or other body/sex positive programming on campus; or the Biology department, Women's and Gender Studies, or the medical school.”
International Documentary Association
"The film uncovers the myths and lies that women are being told about their own bodies. The documentary sheds light on not only what the female clitoris is, but also why women’s sexual desires are often pushed to the wayside. With the #MeToo movement still in full swing, there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to launch a documentary about gender politics and women’s libidos into the world."
Films for the Feminist Classroom | Lynn Comella
"The film wastes no time showing that there is nothing straightforward or easy about harnessing sexual knowledge in a culture that routinely denies women sexual agency and information. ... [It] centers the experiences of women of color and queer women, showing us what truly intersectional feminist filmmaking can look like."
Film Inquiry | Stephanie Archer
"It is a fascinating exploration in female sexuality and everything it encompasses”
The Gate | Andrew Parker
“... Dilemma of Desire uses the deeply human and relatable stories of all its other interviewees so empathetically and brilliantly... These narratives are indispensable when it comes to talking about sexual equality in the world today."
Hammer to Nail | Christopher Reed
"With a captivating cast of talking-head interview subjects, Finitzo creates a comprehensive overview of the erotic world of women that dispels all preconceptions and false notions...The Dilemma of Desire is a marvel, fierce in its focus to rewrite the rules of behavior for all to follow"
Hollywood Reporter | Leslie Felperin
“...empowering, sex-positive...frank but essentially feel-good work...The eclectic emotional journeys of other women met here... are told with impeccable empathy."
Indiewire | Kate Erbland
“...very funny and intensely informational ... — Finitzo’s film takes a thrilling look at female bodies...What the filmmaker and her subjects ultimately find goes beyond just questions of art, science, and representation (like that’s not already enough), offering a full spectrum look at how ignoring anatomy feeds into all corners of existence."
Indiewire Daily Headlines
AFI Docs 2020: 10 of the Most Exciting Films in This Year’s Lineup
Now Toronto | Norm Wilner
Top 10 Must-See Films at Hot Docs 2020
A Reel of One's Own | Andrea Thompson
"Director Maria Finitzo may not speak or appear on-screen, but her presence is continual as she guides “The Dilemma of Desire” through the myriad complexities of its own topics, with a respect for her diverse subjects other filmmakers mostly dream of achieving. They were clearly well-chosen, as they do a fantastic job of articulating the message of empowerment Finitzo clearly wants to send, as each finds their own joy and freedom despite the many obstacles in their path to both."
Rogerebert.com | Brian Tallerico
"It's a movie designed to get people talking."
Screen Zealots | Louisa Moore
"This is a good looking and well-crafted documentary. Beautiful graphics and animation add to the story, and scenes of a group of regular women sitting around and chatting in a circle of friends gives it a homey, authentic feel”
Toronto Guardian | Sonya Davidson
"It’s a powerful reminder that true equality will come only when we all arrive at a place of understanding and acknowledgment that women are sexual beings, entitled to live their lives fully within the expression of their desire."
SXSW Film Festival
Cleveland International Film Festival
Ashland Independent Film Festival
One Take Film Festival
Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival
HotDocs International Film Festival
deadCENTER Film Festival
Denver Film Society
rePRO by mama.film
NHdocs: the New Haven Documentary Film Festival
Against Gravity, Warsaw
Bright Lights Film Series at Emerson College
Fabulous Independent Film Festival
Big Eddy Film Festival
DocLands Documentary Film Festival & Mill Valley Film Festival
Reel Q - Pittsburgh LGBT Film Festival
Raindance Film Festival
Guelph Film Festival
TLV Fest: Tel Aviv LGBT Film Festival
St. Louis International Film Festival
Woodstock Film Festival
Charlotte International Film Festival
Bergen International Film Festival
St. John's International Women's Film Festival
Milwaukee International Film Festival
Seattle Queer Film Festival
REQUEST A GOOD TALK WITH MARA FINITZO
Director of THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE and MAPPING STEM CELL RESEARCH: TERRA INCOGNITA
Maria Finitzo is a two-time Peabody Award-winning social issue documentary filmmaker whose 30 years as a filmmaker has resulted in a body of work that has won every major broadcast award including most recently the Alfred I duPont Award and has been screened in festivals and theaters around the world. She is the director and producer of THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE. Her films are novelistic in their structure, providing multiple points of connection for an audience. She allows the narrative arc of her character’s story to evolve, colliding with other subjects from the film, creating a complex, nuanced story that serves as a vehicle to deepen our understanding of society through everyday human drama.
A coming of age story that reveals the resilience of adolescent girls (5 GIRLS), a father determined to heal his daughter after a tragic accident (MAPPING STEM CELL RESEARCH: TERRA INCOGNITA) investigates the role of science in a democratic society, a young man, leaving foster care (WITH NO DIRECTION HOME) explores the challenges of trying to find one’s place in the world, a soccer coach committed to teaching his players – Hispanic girls – about winning in life (IN THE GAME), and a young couple, both working minimum wage jobs struggling to make ends meet while building a life for themselves and their children (HARD EARNED) are all films that explore different realms of storytelling by investigating the important social issues of the day.
Finitzo’s films have tackled a variety of subjects from the controversial science of stem cell research and the complex questions surrounding the command and control of nuclear weapons to the psychology of adolescent girls, each film demonstrating a depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise. Finitzo is a 2018 Film Independent Fellow and is also a fiction screenwriter and director. She is currently working on an adaptation of a short story by Nobel Prize winning author Alice Munro. A TASTE OF LIFE will be Finitzo’s 2nd fiction film. She is a longtime associate of the award-winning documentary company, Kartemquin Films, one of the oldest and most respected social issue documentary film companies in the country.
REQUEST A GOOD TALK WITH CYNTHIA KANE
Producer of THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE
Cynthia Kane co-created Sundance Channel’s DOCday bringing Jean-Xavier de Lestrade and Denis Poncet’s The Staircase (2006 Peabody, Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Awards) to US television. At ITVS, she shepherded over 150 international and U.S. co-productions for public media. At Al Jazeera America, she commissioned documentaries and series including Albert Maysles’ final work, In Transit. She exec-produced New Eyes by Hiwot Admasu Getaneh (Venice, TIFF, Rotterdam), worked on Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbül's Letters from Baghdad about the extraordinary life and times of Gertrude Bell, co-produced Kim A Snyder and Maria Cuomo Cole’s Lessons From a School Shooting: Notes from Dunblane, a Netflix Original Documentary, exec-produced The Letter by Kenyan filmmakers Maia Lekow and Chris King (IDFA 2019 ), produced Maria Finitzo’s The Dilemma of Desire (to premiere at SXSW 2020; Hot Docs and AFIDocs 2020) and co produced Us Kids with Kim A Snyder, Maria Cuomo Cole and Lori Cheatle (Sundance Film Festival 2020, Human Rights Award at Full Frame 2020.)
REQUEST A GOOD TALK WITH TI CHANG
Featured in THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE
Ti Chang is an industrial designer / entrepreneur passionate about designing products for women. She is the co-founder and VP of Design of CRAVE, a San Francisco-based company specializing in aesthetic pleasure products. Ti leads the design vision for the company’s full line of products which has won international design awards and has led CRAVE to outlets such as the MoMA Design Store, Standard Hotel, Goop, and Saint Laurent.
Ti holds an M.A. in Design Products from the Royal College of Art in London and a B.S. in Industrial Design from the Georgia Institute of Technology.