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James McTeigue says Occupy protestors using “V for Vendetta” masks “got the film”


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When the Occupy protests started popping up around the country–and the world–last year, there was one face that many were surprised to see present: Guy Fawkes.

During the protests, people started wearing the Guy Fawkes mask popularized by the 2006 film “V for Vendetta.” While some protestors likely wore it to align themselves with the beliefs held by 17th century protestor Guy Fawkes, others said they felt “V for Vendetta” is very relevant with the problems facing our country today.

IFC had the chance to catch up with “V” director James McTeigue while he was promoting his new movie, “The Raven,” and we couldn’t resist asking him what he thought of the use of the Guy Fawkes masks during the Occupy protests.

“I think they got the film,” he said. “The graphic novel was more about the individual, and very consciously I made the film about the mask, or about the populous, if you like. So when I saw all those people in the masks, I thought it was great. The film talks about a lot of things, obviously, but you know that is a big part. The questioning of government in your life and whether government is truly, in a democracy, representing you. You know, it also talks about the morality of terrorism and what makes a terrorist, but yeah, I liked it. I would have to say I was all for it.”

McTeigue said that anyone making a film hopes that it becomes part of the public conversation. To see the Guy Fawkes masks used in such a widespread way was a great honor to him as a filmmaker.

“I think there’s so much cultural noise now. When you make a film, you hope you’ll make some sort of slight impact, imprint, along the way. To see the ‘V’ masks slip into the cultural vernacular, if you want, I thought that was great, because ultimately it was what the film was about,” he said. “It was about questioning government. It was about questioning whether the voice of the people is actually the voice of the people, and whether you ever get true representation.”

He continued, “I think there were a couple of generations there that were completely non-politicized, and I thought this was the rebirth of people being politicized. And I think the mask, in a weird way, gave them a chance to protest again, or gave them a chance to have a voice. They could be anonymous behind the mask and be unified. I think anything that gets people out into the street and they feel like they can protest and be protected by the mask, and I think that was great, actually.”

I must admit that I absolutely adore “V for Vendetta” and consider it one of my favorite movies. I said as much to McTeigue, and he said that it’s nice to see the film has had continued success since its release six years ago.

“It’s always really nice to hear feedback on that movie,” McTeigue said. “It took a while for people to come round to it, but I’m really glad that so many people like that movie now.”

He acknowledged that “V for Vendetta” was probably one of the best experiences a first-time director could have making a movie, and it helped that he had worked with the Wachowskis on their successful “The Matrix” trilogy.

“I was really glad I got to make it in the climate that I got to make it. It would be hard to get a film like that through the studio system these days, so it’s one of those things you get to do on the back of working on movies that have made a lot of money,” he said with a laugh.

Were you surprised that people were using Guy Fawkes masks during the Occupy protests? Do you think “V for Vendetta” still resonates today? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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