She has a tear-streaked face that’s swollen around the mouth. He wears a white muscle shirt and speaks in a creepily low, stilted voice. Behind him is a Corrections Department logo. Behind her is only darkness. This scene begins the exploration of the film’s title question, Paula, Why? Despite her own confusion, Paula knows that she loves two incompatible things: boxing and singing. She has centered her life on the first, but, like a bird fleeing a cage, frequents (but never performs at) a local open-mic show, where she meets a man different from those—petty-criminal brother, old-school trainer—who have an investment in her. Shot in Brooklyn, Soho, and upstate New York, and directed by C.G. Reeves, the film’s naturalistic, intense style at times calls to mind Cassavetes or even Bergman. Playing Paula, the intriguing Ingrid Vollsett—who also wrote and produced the film—states up front, “I’m a waste of time,” even as she fights, literally and figuratively, to prove herself wrong.