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Web Original / Goncharov

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The greatest mafia movie (n)ever made.
Poster by beelzeebub on Tumblr

Katya: Of course we’re in love. That’s why I tried to shoot you.
Goncharov: If we really were in love, you wouldn’t have missed.
a quote from the film, allegedly

Goncharov is a piece of collaborative Alternate Reality fiction created on Tumblr in 2022. It consists of various imaginary posters, fanart, fanfiction, and reviews of a nonexistent movie from 1973, supposedly directed by Martin Scorsese.

Due to the collaborative and non-directed origin of the meme, details of the fictional film vary, but most agree that it is a mafia movie about the rise and fall of Goncharov, a member of the Russian mafia living in Naples. Other characters include his cold and cunning wife Katya and his friend/ally/rival Andrey.

    Commonly agreed on elements of the film 
  1. Goncharov was released in 1973. It was written by Matteo JWHJ 0715 and directed(?) and/or possibly co-written by Martin Scorsese. Scorsese's big name helped popularize the film, but as a result JWHJ 0715's significant contribution is often overlooked.
  2. Goncharov was forgotten and was actually difficult to acquire for many years. This may have been due to corporations hoarding rights and access, the actual mafia targeting distribution of the film, other factors, or a combination of these. This led to pirating of the film, which allegedly led to pirating discourse surrounding the film.
  3. There are talks of a Goncharov II or remake.
  4. Goncharov is a mafia boss in Naples of Russian origin. His wife/fiancée is named Katya, also of Russian origin. Goncharov may or may not have fled Russia, and may or may not have been pursued by someone trying to get him back to Russia, possibly to face legal justice. One such person trying to do this could be Valery Michailov.
  5. Valery Michailov is Katya's brother. He may resent Goncharov due to his relationship with his sister and due to Goncharov being wanted by the Russian government. He is somewhat patriotic, possibly a former government worker or soldier.
  6. Katya's last name is either Michailova or Goncharova (although possibly with the wrong suffix). Her relationship with Goncharov is strained, tense, and possibly loveless. She ends up betraying him in the end. This is often seen as a subversion on the typical tropes for women in mafia movies.
  7. At some point, Katya is on a bridge with Goncharov. At some point, Katya points a gun at Goncharov. At some point, Katya is injured on a boat/in a boathouse.
  8. Katya is amicable with someone named Sofia, who has brown hair. She also has subtextual homoerotic tension with her.
  9. Sofia may be working class/poorer than many of the other characters are.
  10. Goncharov has subtextual homoerotic tension with someone named Andrey. Andrey is Goncharov's old friend/best friend/nemesis/enemy/competitor. There is at least one instance of one of them trying to kill the other.
  11. Ice Pick Joe is played by John Cazale, making this his 6th movie. He has a famous ten-minute scene with Katya, and at some point dies, also possibly at the hands of Katya. He is an assassin named after his signature weapon.
  12. Mario Ambrosini works with Goncharov, possibly as a lackey or number two. At some point in the middle of the story, he betrays Goncharov and Goncharov tells him that he "never wants to see [Mario] again". It is unclear what happens to him after that. Mario also has a relationship with Andrey that some have described as "fascinating". It is unclear how.
  13. There is a clock motif in Goncharov, and a general theme regarding "running out of time" before death. There are a few characters who seem at the very least subconsciously aware of the fact that they have little time until their death. The film also deals with the theme of fate, of death and tragedy being and inevitable thing for these characters.
  14. Goncharov dies at the end of the movie, due to someone's betrayal.
  15. Goncharov (1973) was heavily influenced by the American Cold War propaganda of the time. Some argue that it plays right into the stereotypes of Russians, others say it is a clever subversion of the propaganda and stereotypes of the time.

The project began as a meme a based on an Optical Character Recognition program's misreading of the film Gomorrah, resulting in a pair of shoes advertising a non-existent film and a bunch of film fans pretending a film like this exists. This didn't stop the film from trending at #1 on Tumblr only a few days after a fake poster was created in November 2022, with Martin Scorsese trending at #2. On top of this, the film quickly gained a (removed) Letterboxd and (removed) IMDB page, as well as getting its own tag on Archive of Our Own, and having the "main theme" from the film uploaded to both Tumblr and Spotify. The "plot" of the film has so-far managed to avoid major contradiction, which may have contributed to the popularity of the meme.

    Some media in the Goncharov canon 

For the In-Universe version of this article, see JustForFun.Goncharov.

Tropes that apply to the Tumblr creation:

  • The '70s: The setting for most of the action, including the original release of the film.
  • Accidental Misnaming: This is essentially how the meme originated. Basically, at some point in the recent past, there was an off-brand shoe company which used an OCR, or Optical Character Recognition program to scan various popular logos to put onto their shoes, ostensibly to pass their products off as a larger name brand such as Gucci or Puma. This specific OCR was programmed to recognize Cryllic and Latin alphabets, but the program was not properly set up to recognize English language. When the program came across an ad or poster for the Matteo Garrone film Gomorrah, it was unable to properly recognize the English wording and thus improperly transcribed it onto the tongue of the boots. The owners of the program either did not understand enough English to see the errors, or didn't care anyways and sold the boots as-is, and the rest is history.
  • Acclaimed Flop: In-Universe, the titular film apparently got good reviews but was not widely known until the New 20s
  • Artifact Name: Several in-universe AU fanfictions still call "Ice Pick Joe" by his nickname even if they're taking place in a world where the Noodle Incident that gave him that nickname wouldn't have taken place. It's implied that the fandom makes a joke out of how flimsy of a Hand Wave they can come up with for this.
  • Cult Classic: In-Universe. It held a cult classic status as Martin Scorsese's "lost movie" with a small but loyal fanbase, and was "rediscovered" by Tumblr in 2022.
  • Depending on the Writer: Naturally, the decentralized nature of the project leads to any given contributor varying in how much of "canon" they even know about, much less actually choose to abide by. Not everyone goes with Matteo JWHJ 0715 being half-license-plate, for example; some assert that he changed his name to his license plate number over racial discrimination.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: In-Universe. Patchka, a scrappy white (or grey tabby) female street cat who has several scenes in the film (and an alleged subplot in one cut). One "fan" claimed that at a showing of the film, the audience actually cheered when Patchka first appeared on screen
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Matteo JWHJ 0715's interesting last name is apparently because his father was a license plate.
  • Historical Domain Character: Several real actors and directors are claimed as the creators of the fictional film, most notably Martin Scorsese.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Also In-Universe, the movie was apparently extremely difficult to find for several decades and may only have been accessible through piracy.
  • Play-Along Meme: invoked: In a very unique example, the work itself is the Play-Along Meme, and the collection of art and fiction that were created as part of the game.
  • Odd Name Out: Matteo JWHJ 0715, compared to the otherwise normal names of the cast and crew.
  • Stacked Characters Poster: more of a pyramid than a stack, but the most popular poster follows the standard of having the characters superimposed onto each other in different sizes.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Many of the writers and artists position themselves as shippers who want to pair two of the male characters.
  • Young Future Famous People: In many versions a young pre-WWWF André the Giant appears, guarding a piece of high tech equipment for one brief scene.

Tropes applying to the fictional movie Goncharov