How Tumblr Invented the “Greatest Mafia Movie Ever Made”

There are thousands of posts under the #Goncharov tag on Tumblr. Of those posts, you can find many artworks, cosplays, and scene analyses from the movie. Aside from the popularity it’s received on Tumblr, it has nearly 900 fanmade writing pieces under the same tag on Archive of Our Own as of November 29th 2022. Even Martin Scorcese, one of the directors, has talked about making this movie. These all seem like perfectly normal things for a movie fandom. However, Goncharov (1973) doesn’t actually exist. 

But how did Tumblr create an entire fanbase surrounding a nonexistent movie? It all began with a Tumblr post made in 2020, which showed a picture of a pair of shoes with “Martin Scorsese presents GONCHAROV” written on the tag label instead of an actual brand. 

Image courtesy of Tumblr user zootycoon

But wait, why would someone sell shoes with the title of a nonexistent Scorsese film on them? People have theorized that these shoes were meant to be merchandise for Scorsese’s 2008 movie Gomorrah, but due to a spelling error they were released with “Goncharov” written on them. This theory is further supported by the fact that the layout and design of the label looks similar to a Gomorrah movie poster. 

While this image gained a small amount of traction when it was first posted, it would be nothing compared to the attention it would receive on November 18th of 2022, when Prague-based artist Alex Korotchuk uploaded a fake Goncharov movie poster to Tumblr. The image quickly went viral as people began responding to it with their favorite quotes from the “movie”, as well as their opinions on it. As the next few days went on, it became a huge game of trying to gaslight people into believing that Goncharov was a real movie, with #Goncharov beginning to trend on Tumblr. Some Tumblr users even went as far as to create fake trailers for the movie and even a soundtrack. As more and more people began talking about it, people across different social media platforms began finding out about Goncharov. One of those platforms was TikTok, which Martin Scorsese’s daughter Francesca happened to use. 

When Francesca found out about the movie, she sent her dad a text asking him if he knew about Goncharov. He responded with “Yes. I made that film years ago.”