Martin Scorsese has enjoyed a long, successful career with a lot of movies to his name. He has not, however, made a film about the Neapolitan mafia starring Robert De Niro, Cybill Shepherd, and Al Pacino called Goncharov. This fact hasn’t stopped Tumblr—one of the many sites enjoying a resurgence in the wake of Twitter’s ongoing disasters—from deciding that Goncharov should exist. Or banding together to make it so in an elaborate community joke.
The story of Goncharov, as summarized by a very recent TV Tropes entry, concerns “a former discotheque owner who comes to Naples after the fall of the Soviet Union” in order to become a mob boss. The idea that this movie was also supposed to have been released in 1973 may make its plot nonsense from the jump, but it’s still inspired a whole lot of discussion and fan art on Tumblr.
The Goncharov tag leads to a wealth of illustrations that imagine scenes from the movie as well as poster mock-ups, and, as Boing Boing rounded up, a cash-in video game with accompanying soundtrack, a 3D model of the VHS release, and a piano theme song.
Thanks to creations like these, certain “facts” about the movie have solidified into widely accepted truths. For instance, Goncharov’s cast includes De Niro in the title role, Shepherd, and Pacino, along with Gene Hackman and Harvey Keitel. It also, as Insider explains, “features a prominent clock motif” and is “full of homoerotic tension between Goncharov and a man named Andrey (fictionally portrayed by Al Pacino” as well as between “Goncharov’s apparent love interest Katya (Cybill Shepherd) and another woman named Sofia.”
The whole idea was sparked, it turns out, by an older Tumblr post that showed a photo of some knock-off boots ordered online. When the boots arrived, they featured a label that mysteriously read: “The Greatest Mafia Movie Ever Made. Martin Scorsese Presents Goncharov. A Domenico Procacci Production. A film By Matteo JWHJ 0715 About The Naples Mafia.”
After searching for the origin of the boots’ bizarre claim, a user discovered that the label likely referenced 2009's Gomorrah, which was indeed produced by Domenico Procacci, was released in the States with an endorsement from Scorsese and is also “about the Naples mafia.” (Gomorrah is based on a non-fiction Roberto Saviano book about the Camorra and has spun off a TV series of the same name.)
In the end, Goncharov is just an elaborate play off of an existing film. Not like other legitimate movies from our past, such as Seann William Scott’s memorable 2000s comedy, Vincey Masters: Born To Be A Karate Meister.
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