. . . despite being set there, Oval is not just about Berlin. It is a story about art and capitalism, about compromise and responsibility, the creeping terror of calculation, and the absolute redundancy of the new. In it, the city has become the kind of place all places, under capitalism, hasten to become. But what makes it all the more tragic is precisely that it is Berlin—as a stand-in for creativity-in-general, the city’s demise becomes particularly grim. While alternatives are still thrown out now, in the world of Oval, every option has been tried and used up: “the end of the line,” Louis says to Anja, “Nowhere to go from here.”

 

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