‘Smell of tiger precedes tiger’ is an existentialist travelogue.
André Príncipe travelled from Lisbon to Tokyo by land and by sea, with a desire to escape, to go places far away. The initial feelings of uneasiness and alienation fade as empty bars and hotel rooms give place to windows of trains and the vastness of the desert, and return as we approach the Asian big cities. The strongly cinematic sequence was designed to be read from right to left as well as from left to right, expressing the circular aspect of the journey.
‘I was already far away, in a city, and wanted to go to the mountains. Asking around, I came up with a phone number. I told him where I wanted to go and where I came from, and in his very poor English, he managed to tell me that he’d never seen a Portuguese, even though his grandfather had been half-Portuguese. He also told me it would be okay to go with him. We were quiet most of the time, walking through the forests. “Eat, sleep now, stop,” he would say, and then he would smile. It was difficult for him to understand my question, but when he finally understood, he said, “Smell of tiger precedes tiger.” I was astounded at his sudden mastery of English. He said nothing more. For the next hours we walked in silence. Our footsteps echoing through the forest.’
— André Príncipe, from the Lisbon/Tokyo notebooks