So when eventually I asked, "Mario, can I film you?" he replied, "Yes, but no speaking," and immediately sat himself in a chair under a tree, cupping a huge pine cone in his lap. His choice of prop was generated by his sculptor's interest in the Fibonacci sequence and its instances in nature.
The weather that afternoon was fickle, casting Mario into deep shade and bright illumination. He joked, chatted and pronounced, and picked his teeth, while observing the scene like a canny old lion with the sun catching his mane. Only at one point did he become more ruminative, when three funeral bells started to toll from the square. When he asked if they were bells for the dead, someone replied they were festival bells, but he wasn't fooled. Then a new take: the bells had stopped, the atmosphere shifted once more until it started to storm, and our filming ended abruptly.