Toronto (Canada) (AFP)

A musical documentary by American director Spike Lee devoted to black victims of police brutality in the United States kicked off Thursday evening of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Pandemic obliges, the documentary "American Utopia" was presented in world premiere in streaming on Internet, as well as in front of a limited audience in a few theaters of Toronto.

An outdoor screening was also held for moviegoers driving in a "drive-in" on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Spike Lee's "American Utopia" is the film adaptation of the eponymous concert singer David Byrne of Talking Heads gave on Broadway before the pandemic began.

In the documentary, the artist's engaging and catchy songs punctuate images of Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, all of black Americans killed during violent police stops and which have sparked hundreds of demonstrations in the United States. United since May.

Director Spike Lee "has been a vocal artist on so many topics over the years, it makes it seem like this year what he has been saying for decades resonates with a lot more people. ", commented for AFP Cameron Bailey, co-director of the festival.

Like the usual Hollywood stars, Spike Lee was unable to attend the presentation of his film in Toronto due to the closure of the border between Canada and the United States to non-essential travel in order to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The TIFF also presented Thursday in world premiere "Sixteen springs", first feature film by the French director Suzanne Lindon, a film about a teenage girl falling in love with a man older than her, initially planned in Cannes in the spring, festival canceled due to pandemic.

The Canadian festival, which only awards one audience award, often sets the pace for winter awards in Hollywood.

This year, only moviegoers already in town can attend physical screenings as part of a greatly reduced festival, with only 50 feature films showing, compared to around 300 normally.

Canadian Internet users were also treated to the world premiere of German director Werner Herzog's most recent documentary "Fireball" on meteorites.

"Maybe in 2 million years, we will be struck by something big," the famous director told AFP from Los Angeles.

“Let's be realistic, so what?” He added, referring instead to more concrete threats of nuclear war, massive volcanic eruption or “really nasty germs”.

© 2020 AFP