Maria Finitzo Knocks Down Social Constructs With Her New Documentary – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus


The 2020 SXSW Film Festival is around the corner! In order to help get you ready for all the event, we would like y'all to get to know films from our lineup a bit better with our Filmmaker In Focus series.

Dive into our Q&A with director Maria Finitzo as she tells us about her film The Dilemma of Desire, which will world premiere in Documentary Spotlight.

"As long as women remain in such a condition they will not challenge efforts to control them. And this is why I wanted to make this film. I care deeply about the state of women in the world." – Director Maria Finitzo

In your own words, what does this film mean to you?

Maria Finitzo: In a culturally 'cliterate' world, a woman defines sex according to her own values, desires, and pleasures. She becomes not only her own sexual person, but the protagonist of her own life. So yes the film talks about the clitoris; where it is, what it looks like, and what it is for, but, it is not a film about the clitoris or even sex. Instead it is a film that connects the consciousness of clitoral facts – THE TRUTH with empowerment way beyond sexual satisfaction and demonstrates that Cultural Cliteracy fuels growth, creativity, and individuation helping women find and express personal power.

What motivated you to tell this story?

MF: The essay by Audre Lorde Uses of the Erotic. This essay articulates the thesis of the film: that controlling women's sexuality serves to reduce women to a version of "docile bodies." The continuation of male supremacy depends upon women being docile bodies, isolated, subjected, used, transformed, dominated objectified.

According to a recent report from the American Psychological Association, objectification of girls and women undermines their cognitive functioning, distorts their body-image, interferes with their sexual response, causes them to internalize shame and self-hatred, and ushers them into lifelong roles as sex objects.

And as long as women remain in such a condition they will not challenge efforts to control them. And this is why I wanted to make this film. I care deeply about the state of women in the world.

What do you want the audience to take away?

MF: Cultural Cliteracy is a counter discourse to current ones that promote the notion that women as sex objects who take direction from male power and accept all with little resistance. Lorde uses the term "the erotic" to refer to forces of attraction and connection that bring people together and support the creation of agency for all people. Lorde's 'erotic' entails profound respect for oneself and the other. Which ultimately is the message of the film.

What made you choose SXSW to showcase your film to the world?

MF: I think SXSW attracts audiences who will be drawn to this film and offers a great venue for conversations about the film.

Add The Dilemma of Desire to your SXSW Schedule. Stay tuned as we share more interviews with our SXSW 2020 filmmakers!

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The Dilemma of Desire - Photo by Naiti Gamez

By Neha Aziz