an exploration of “cliteracy,” and the clash between gender politics and the imperatives of female sexual desire


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"Very funny and intensely informational" - Indiewire
"Empowering, sex positive" - The Hollywood Reporter

Gender • Equality • Women, Gender & Sexuality • LGBTQ • Democracy and Social Movements • Education & Educational Equity 

Date of Completion: 2020 | Run Time: 118​​ | Language: English | Captions: No | Includes: Transcript Director: Maria Finitzo  Producers: Maria Finitzo, Cynthia Kane & Diane Quon

Entertaining, thrilling and radical, THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE explores the work of four women who are shattering myths and lies about female sexual desire, bodies and - ultimately - power. Groundbreaking artist Sophia Wallace challenges long-held ideas of women with her “cliteracy” project, putting front and center the clitoris as fundamental to female orgasm. Dr. Stacey Dutton, a neuroscientist who realized she had never seen a drawing of the clitoris until she discovered Wallace’s work, is now committed to studying its biology and pushing the publishing industry to correct the deliberate omissions of the clitoris in major anatomy textbooks. With 20 years of research, Dr. Lisa Diamond is dismantling outdated notions about women’s arousal. And industrial designer Ti Chang heads CRAVE, a company dedicated to designing and manufacturing elegant vibrators for women.

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." | 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."