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The Cheese Nun
The Cheese Nun
Actor: Sister Noella Marcellino
Director: Pat Thompson
Genres: Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 0min

This fascinating PBS documentary profiles the adventures of world famous Benedictine nun Sister Noella Marcellino, a scientist who is the cheesemaker for Regina Laudis Abbey, and a champion for artisanal cheesemaking. She ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Sister Noella Marcellino
Director: Pat Thompson
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Documentary
Studio: Pbs (Direct)
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 05/30/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

Movie Reviews

Holds our interest without drama
Dr Cathy Goodwin | Seattle, WA USA | 08/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Monasteries and cheese have a long historic association. So we shouldn't be surprised to learn that a senior nun of Regina Laudis, Sister Noelle, was assigned to cheese-making duty. Determined to master the craft, Sister Noelle returned to school for a graduate degree in microbiology, attending UConn in full habit. She later applied for a Fullbright to learn from the French cheesemakers, spending a year driving around the magnificent French her full habit.

We learn a lot about cheese and even more about a contemporary nun. The film doesn't delve into her motives or even her personality, so we don't get a 3D view of Sister Noelle. But we see a combination of a warm, outgoing style with a deep attachment to her cheese and her religious life. As she says, being a nun behind bars has allowed her to be free.

Contemporary Benedictines are encouraged to be passionate about their chosen area of manual labor, so we get brief interviews with a blacksmith and a landscape architect who prunes trees. As a viewer, I was very conscious of the habits - they look so uncomfortable! - but nothing stops these intrepid women.

We don't get a sense of their lives beyond a few scenes in the choir, which they might say is the heart of their community. It's impossible not to come away with a deep respect for their lives, especially Sister Noelle's. She wasn't tempted to leave forever - she's a truly happy woman.

And, with no fuss or preamble, we get a brief cameo of Mother Dolores Hart, the actress who became a nun, accompanied by press releases. This time nobody seems to be playing a part. They're as fully engaged as anyone could want. Anyone who studies vocations and careers -- secular or religious -- will enjoy this easygoing documentary."
A rare behind-the-scenes look at a special kind of nun and h
Monica K. Van Ness | Aurora, CO United States | 07/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"as this documentary follow Sister Noella while she studies and learns more about the work she does as a Benedictine nun in Connecticut. It is a very interesting look at one nun, the Benedictine abbey where she lives, and - cheese. The program has almost more information than I wanted to know about cheese, and I'll probably never look at cheese in quite the same way as I used to."
Surprising Person and Cheese
Rebecca E. Henkins | Central Florida | 05/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I happen to make cheese and I happen to be interested in the Benedictine way of life. I bought this video not sure if it was about cheese making or the benedictine life. I was very pleased it was a bit about both. Now this video isn't about how to make cheese. But it does give you a bit of a microbiology lesson on why certain cheeses from certain places retain the flavor they do. I learned a bit there.

What I did get a bit of surprise about but really enjoyed was how they shared a bit of the benedictine way of life. I really enjoyed seeing how these women live and interact. I think it is marvelous and very much how more people should strive to live, in a more balanced community with each fulfilling their roles to the best they can, not competing to have more more more!

SO this video is about a nun who goes from an isolated colony in a sequestered life, back out into public by attending college. She studies microbiology and boy she went all the way with it. I ahve studied micro myself but not sure I could go that far, but I learned about a whole new field of microbiology as well. She tok it and ran with it and gained knowledge and field experience and helped show the scientific world the connections we are losing by industrializing everything including cheese making.

But she takes all this home and then makes the most beautiful and simple cheese. I would love to taste it!! I think I would love to spend time at their convent as well :)

SO depending on what you are looking for - this video may appeal to you or it may not - but I found it an enjoyable short view of the benedictine life as well as a strong and adventuresome woman who explores her job and seeming apparent love of cheese making. I mean if you don't love it - how could you study that many years and travel that far for it!! And still be smiling :)