Enter the name for this tabbed section: SYNOPSIS

A surreal journey through the capricious mind of Jean Benoît
- the last French Surrealist

WINNER: BEST SHORT FILM AWARD 2012 Toronto International Film Festival
WINNER: BEST SHORT DOC AWARD 2013 Seattle International Film Festival
WINNER: BEST SHORT DOC AWARD 2013 Nevada City Film Festival
NAMED to the TIFF TOPTEN Best Shorts of 2012
NOMINATED for BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY - Canadian Screen Awards 2013

Jean Benoît, the last official member of the French Surrealist group, receives Deco Dawsons signature visual treatment in a biography that fantastically illustrates Benoits formative (and highly sexual) childhood memories. Mixing interviews recorded in Benoîts Parisian studio with Surrealist-inspired re-enactments, Dawson deconstructs documentary conventions to eulogize a formidable artist.

Alex Rogalski - TIFF 2012

Enter the name for this tabbed section: BENOÎT BIO
Stacks Image 550
Born in Quebec City in 1922 Jean Benoît spent his highly formative childhood years perched upon his neighbors rooftops peering in on their nightly ablutions.

He moved to Montreal and taught at the Lecole des beauxs-arts until 1947 when he initiated a riot among his students, imploring them to protest the conservative and religious history of art in Quebec. This riot would become the impetus for the Manisfeste Prisme d'Yeux and the Refus Global movement in Quebec. Benoît was quickly fired from the school and along with his expelled student and soon-to-be wife Mimi Parent, he permanently moved to Paris.
Click here for an interactive Benoît page with images and videos
In 1959 Benoît met Andre Breton and was officially invited to join the Surrealist movement, which at this point was regaining strength for what would be its final phase of global reputation.

A naturally born iconoclast, a lover of life and a life filled with lovers, Jean Beno
ît was truly an inspired artist with the deviance of an alley cat. An extroverted recluse with a boisterous laugh and tender personality, Benoît repeatedly rejected the grand spotlight and rarely allowed his work to be showcased. Today most of his work is still owned by only a handful of collectors.

Jean Beno
ît was like no other artist, his meticulously crafted and highly sexual art is both as technically and characteristically unparalleled as the man himself.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: DECO BIO
Stacks Image 565
Deco Dawson is an international award winning filmmaker from Winnipeg, Canada.  His 15 innovative short films remain at times unclassifiable, continually blurring the lines between dramatic, documentary, animation and experimental film, as Dawson often creates fantastical worlds with miniatures, archival footage, meticulous set design, in camera effects and grainy, textured filmstock.   Two-time winner of the Best Short Film Award from the Toronto International Film Festival for his shorts KEEP A MODEST HEAD in 2012 and FILM(dzama) in 2001. Dawsons innovative films are critically revered. In addition to screening at major festivals worldwide, Dawson has been host to solo retrospectives of his work in France, Spain, USA and Canada.

Deco recently won the 2013 Winnipeg Mayor's Arts Award and the 2013 Manitoba Hothouse Filmmaker Award for his outstanding contributions to the local and international film and arts scenes.
Enter the name for this tabbed section: IMAGE GALLERY
Stacks Image 725
Stacks Image 729
Stacks Image 727
Stacks Image 731
Stacks Image 739
Stacks Image 735
Stacks Image 733
Stacks Image 741
Stacks Image 737
Enter the name for this tabbed section: CAST & CREW
Narrated by:
Jean Benoît

Jean Benoît
Brock MacGregor
Brent Neale

Written, Directed, Designed by: Deco Dawson

Produced by: Deco Dawson

Producer: Catherine Chagnon

Creative Producer: Craig Trudeau

Original Score by: Paul Shrofel

Cinematography, Editing and Visual Effects by: Deco Dawson

Sound Design by: Jean-François B. Sauvé

Sound Mix by: Jean-Paul Vialard

Foley by: Russ Dyck

An Endstop and Elsewhere Production
Microclimat Films co-Production

Produced with the generous assistance of:

The Canada Council for the Arts
The National Film Board (ACIC program)
The Manitoba Arts Council
Manitoba Film and Music
The Winnipeg Film Group
The Winnipeg Arts Council

Additional funding provided by:

On Screen Manitoba
Enter the name for this tabbed section: TECHNICAL INFO
Running Time: 19 min

Year of Production: 2012

Exhibition Formats: 35mm, DCP, HDCAM, DBeta, Qtime

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: French with English Subtitles

Production Formats:
S16mm, 16mm, Super8, DSLR, archival footage
Enter the name for this tabbed section: PRESS REVIEWS
"If there's any film that stands out from the pack at Short Cuts Canada, its this look at French Surrealist artist Jean Benoît. Dawson brings a trippy visual approach to his interview with Benoît , who displays a crass charm you have to see to truly appreciate. Much like the Surrealist art Benoît is known for, the film itself is a brilliant piece of creative expression that remains with you long after the credits."
David Silverberg - Digital Journal

"Deco Dawson's Keep a Modest Head steals the show here with a visually stunning look at the "life" of late French Surrealist Jean Benoît... blending live action, impeccable green screen work, haunting animation and a picture-in-picture mise en scene that creates a psychosexual dreamlike state that few other shorts can achieve in the same period of time."
Andrew Parker - Dork Shelf

"Deco Dawson's Keep a Modest Head is a film that expands the boundaries of documentary, one that perfectly reflects its surreal subject."

Reg Harkema - TIFF 2012 Shorts Jury President

"Although there were many great films to discuss and debate, ultimately there was one film that the jury unanimously felt was particularly worthy of receiving the Best Documentary Short award. For its brilliantly surrealistic imagining of the life of the last of the surrealists.... Keep a Modest Head"
Seattle International Film Festival: Jury Statement

"Dawson has developed a signature visual style that's impossible to duplicate."
Nicholas Frisen - Uptown Magazine

"I definitely commend (Deco Dawson) for his commitment to highlighting the life of Jean Benoît and creating such a visually interesting and experimental way to translate Benoît's life to screen. Hearing Benoît talk about his life in his own words partnered with a visually surrealist way of telling it is incredibly groundbreaking"
Kindah - Press +1

"Dawson does a nice job of creating a warped space, this time in Benoît's recreated childhood home, which houses wall portraits that turn into screens, and women who mysteriously appear in various states of undress as per Benoît's overactive imagination."
Angelo Muredda - Torontoist.com

"Deco Dawson's Keep a Modest Head is an amazing work, he's an exquisite stylist."
Allison Gilmore - CBC Radio

Enter the name for this tabbed section: CONTACT