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By Merle Bertrand | February 22, 2000

A friend of mine, trying to explain Los Angeles’ drabness and its lack of a soul relative to so many other cities, once described that endlessly sprawling concrete and strip mall megalopolis as one big rental city. The kind of place where tons of people temporarily reside while chasing dreams and dollars, only to leave when quality of life becomes more important. A gross generalization, to be sure, but there’s a nugget of truth there; one that’s handily reinforced in Veit Bastian’s gritty snapshot of the city “Enter.” Bastian blithely ignores the stereotypical Chamber of Commerce LA of beaches and Beverly Hills, concentrating instead on slices of life from a handful of the millions who struggle along anonymously below the media radar. We meet, among others, an insect exterminator, aspiring child actors and their pushy parents and pushier agents, a quietly proud emergency room doctor in a gang-ridden war zone, a freelance video journalist/ambulance chaser, a tawdry bunch of Mexican-Americans staging an illicit c**k fight beneath the LAX flight path, and, of course, an assortment of dim-bulb aspiring adult video actors and the sleazy managers of an adult modeling agency. Bastian divides these segments with a series of mirrored split-screen musical interludes, showing a drive through the city, which ultimately serve only to slow down the main segments. While “Enter” is solid enough, it’s almost too generic for its own good. If the idea is to take a look at what makes LA unique by way of the people who live there, this video doesn’t get the job done. With the possible exceptions of the porn actors and their child star wannabe compatriots, the folks Bastian introduces us to could be from anywhere. Love it or hate it, there are things about LA, and even many of the people who choose to live there for however long they do, that make it totally unique. That’s an aspect of the city “Enter” just doesn’t convey.

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