The wailing of the film Godmother by Frances McDormand, which is set in New York City, has sparked protests on social media.
The film was filmed in 2005, but has been banned from UK cinemas since 2011 after the director was arrested for alleged child pornography offences.
Its creator says the film is not a pornographic film, but a feminist film about the way the world treats women.
“If it’s true that it is not pornography, then why would I watch it?” director Frances McDowell wrote in a blog post.
“I am not watching it because I have a vested interest in it, or because it is a feminist work, or even because it makes me feel safe or a good feminist.”
A number of people have posted on social networking sites in support of the feminist filmmaker.
Some have argued the film should be banned for its violent and misogynistic themes.
The director’s film was banned from the UK by the UK’s Film Licensing Board for a number of reasons including the use of language which could cause offence.
“Godmother” has been criticised for being sexist, and the film’s director has said the film makes “misogynistic” claims about the gender of the character she plays.
The British Film Institute has said it will investigate the film for “serious misconduct” after receiving complaints.
It said it would not be taking disciplinary action against the director or any individual involved, but would refer complaints to the police.
“The BFI has a zero tolerance policy towards serious misconduct and we will take all appropriate action if we have found it to be so,” the organisation said in a statement.
“We do not condone, encourage or condone violence, sexual harassment or abuse of any kind and are therefore taking these complaints seriously.”
McDowell said the wailing scene in the film “was not a work of cinema, but was a film about women being held captive in the male gaze and how they are controlled and controlled” by men.
She said that while she was not a fan of the way it depicted women, it was an important film.
“It shows how women are still controlled by men, how they can be beaten and raped,” she said.
The wailing was filmed for the film, and was a “positive, joyful and moving moment”.