This lush anthology of erotic tales was filmed in four countries (Iran, Nepal, Yemen, and Eritrea) over a period of more than two years. Completing the literary cycle begun by Pier Pasolini in Il Decamerone and I Racconti di Canterbury, this one is perhaps the most controversial of the lot, engendering reactions from admiration to dismissal. The connecting story deals with Mur el-Din (Franco Merli), a prince searching for his slave girl lover, Zumurrud (Ines Pellegrini), who has been kidnapped, only to disguise herself as a man, take a wife, and become ruler of a great city. Mur el-Din's quest carries him to the ends of his known world, where he listens to several stories of carnality and betrayal. The continuity and fluidity of the film depend entirely on the version screened, because several different cuts exist; producer Alberto Grimaldi insisted on a 130-minute release, whereas Pasolini and United Artists preferred the unexpurgated 155-minute version with its ten stories all intact.
by Robert Firsching synopsis