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Passing Strangers & Forbidden Letters:
Two Films by Arthur J. Bressan, Jr.

Brand new 2k Scans!!

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Passing Strangers & Forbidden Letters: Two Films by Arthur J. Bressan, Jr.

Dir. Arthur J. Bressan, Jr.


No other filmmaker better embodied the spirit of the gay liberation movement than Arthur J. Bressan, Jr. (Buddies, Gay USA). A true pioneer of queer cinema, his films fearlessly blurred the boundaries between the artistic, the erotic, and the cinematic — and never so clearly as with his first two narrative films, the critically-acclaimed Passing Strangers and Forbidden Letters. Altered Innocence and the Bressan Project are proud to present these two landmarks of early queer cinema, newly restored in 2K from their original film elements and with a host of new bonus features.

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A closeted gay teenager (Robert Adams) finds love, community, and a political awakening when he decides to answer an older, jaded man’s (Robert Carnagey) personal ad in Arthur J. Bressan, Jr.’s feature film debut. One of cinema’s first coming out stories, Passing Strangers is a romantic portrait of gay liberation-era San Francisco that still resonates today. 

Year of production: 1974. Running Time: 74 min


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Larry (Robert Adams) is trying to pass the time on the day his older lover Richard (Richard Locke) is set to be released from prison. Unable to clear his head through casual sex, he reads through his letters to Richard — letters he could never send out of fear that his outing would lead to a harsher sentence. As Richard’s release draws nearer, the question remains: will the spark still be there when he gets out? 

Year of production: 1979. Running Time: 74 min

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Special Features on the DVD/Blu-ray:

  • Audio commentary on Passing Strangers by Elizabeth Purchell, K.J. Shepherd, and Tyler Thomas of Ask Any Buddy

  • Audio Commentary on Forbidden Letters by queer trans film critic Caden Mark Gardner and Elizabeth Purchell of Ask Any Buddy

  • On-Stage Q&A with star Robert Adams and queer film historian Jenni Olson at the San Francisco PornFilmFestival*

  • Five early Super 8 shorts by Arthur J. Bressan, Jr. (New HD Restorations)*

  • Print materials & original photos gallery*

  • Original theatrical trailers for both films (New 2K Restorations)*

  • Double bill trailer

  • Other trailers

  • 20-page booklet with writing by Arthur J. Bressan, Jr. and an essay by Caden Mark Gardner*

* Denotes Blu-ray Exclusive


  • Region-Free

  • Stereo Audio

  • In English with English SDH & Spanish Subtitles

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