Have you been seeing posts praising a 1974 Martin Scorcese film called Goncharov? A brand new fandom has emerged for the Robert De Niro led mafia epic on Tumblr. But before you start sifting through the criterion collection for a way to watch, you must know, the film doesn’t exist and is just a meme crafted expertly by Tumblr users.
Like a lot of the biggest in-jokes to happen on Tumblr, it all starts with a shoe.
Back in 2020, user @zootycoon posted a photo of a pair of boots that they bought online with a tag displaying, “THE GREATEST MAFIAMOVIE EVER MADE, MARTIN SCORSESE PRESENTS GONCHAROV. A FILM BY MATTEO JWHJO715 ABOUT THE NAPLES MAFIA”.
The post circulated back in 2021 when @loseremo reblogged it with a screenshot of one comment saying “this idiot hasn’t seen Goncharov”.
The post has made rounds once again and Tumblr users have decided to build this film’s universe by providing lore, gifsets using other mafia/Scorcese films, and even an official(unofficial) film posters.
goncharov (1973) compilation. i'm never leaving tumblr pic.twitter.com/fusxmyTEBZ
— megan 🌻🍁 (@sunlit_sky) November 20, 2022
I made fanposter for the greatest mafia movie (n)ever made – Goncharov (1973) dir. Martin Scorsese pic.twitter.com/7SI51wslW7
— Beelz (@Beelzebubesque) November 18, 2022
The poster, made by @beelzebubesque, canonized the cast for “Gonchorav”.
The fan cast is an assembly of frequent Scorcese collaborators(the Martin Scorcese players if you will).
De Niro is Goncharov, the Russian Mafia boss in Naples, Italy who is running out of time. Harvey Keitel plays Andrey “The Banker” Daddano, Goncharov’s best friend, lover, enemy, or betrayer depending on the lore you choose to follow. Al Pacino is Mario Ambrosini, Gonchorav’s right-hand man, and betrayer in most lore. Cybill Shepherd is Katya, Gonchorav’s wife who has many monumental scenes with a woman named Sofia.
“Goncharov” has everything you want in a Cold War mafia film; homoerotic subtext, betrayal, a clock motif, iconic lines, and an infamous bridge scene that is lauded by film buffs everywhere.
The point of the meme? Play along. This game of internet improv has led to over 400 works of fanfiction on Archive of Our Own. Many Tumblr posts mimic film criticism and analysis, even deriding how other people don’t understand the film’s themes and symbolism.
The cult classic film meme has now appeared on other social media sites. Some on Twitter are filling in the Tumblr novices to this jokes genius. Others on Twitter are adding to the lore.
There are now more fanfics on AO3 for Goncharov, a completely fabricated film made up by Tumblr that has never existed, than for Avatar, the 4th highest-grossing film to date.
I am in awe.
— 🏳️🌈 Hailey Piper 🏳️🌈 (@HaileyPiperSays) November 22, 2022
Finally finished watching Goncharov and I have OPINIONS pic.twitter.com/iXfsFkRZNd
— Pumpkin Spice Raffè🎃 (@RaffcatPlays) November 21, 2022
Even edits have appeared on TikTok.
Tumblr has acknowledged the film on Twitter.
Goncharov was inexplicably ahead of it time and it’s contribution to cinema is remarkable. Rarely does a film tell as many diverse-yet-interconnected stories.
Hard to imagine so few ppl have seen it. https://t.co/mKY6Ydya4U
— tumblr dot com the website and app (@tumblr) November 20, 2022
Many see this meme, which began as a shoe, as proof that you can participate in fan culture without even needing existing media.
Can’t wait to see what the creative minds that brought the world “Gonchorav” will do next. Looking at you Scorcese.