Hibbin Nina

Nina Hibbin

In her day, she was the noted film critic of the Daily Worker and the Morning Star, who often rode her motorbike to screenings!
Born Nina Gloria Hibbin on September 28 1922 into an east­ern European Jewish family in Romford, Essex. She left home at 16 to work for Mass Observation, the forerunner of opinion polls. There, she documented reactions to the Second World War among the East Enders. She also worked for Picture Post, captioning photographs of ordinary people with appro­priate comments from them.
She joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and after the war trained for teaching at Dart­ington Hall. When she took up a teaching post in Corn­wall, she initially got into considerable trouble for being a Communist. In the early 1950s, she moved back to London. She became film critic of the Daily Worker in the early 1960s, and rem­ained there for a decade.
As a film critic, she was a passion­ate advocate of east Euro­pean cinema and a campaigner to persuade British distributors to screen what was then called third-world cinema. Ken Loach had cause to be grateful to her for the cam­paign she mounted to get Rank to release his now clas­sic “Kes” in 1969. When she went to film festivals, she also represented the upper class magazine, “The Lady”! Her reviews, nonetheless, remained much the same, full of sympathy for working people and against the glibness of Hollywood.
When she finally left criti­cism in 1971, for what she described as a more useful occupation, she became the first films officer of the York­shire Arts Association, where she was one of the first to give grants to aspiring film­makers. In the mid-1970s, she became programme director of the Tyneside cinema, in Newcastle, where she took many considerable risks in the films she showed. 
Retiring to a cliff top home at Boulby, near Staithes, she and her husband Eric (whom she had met on a London demonstration) ran a cafe for walkers on the Cleveland Way. She also edited two books of poetry collected from local people. When she moved to Saltburn, three years before her death, she was still campaigning with a shop mobility scheme in Red­car, and against the British National Party standing in her ward. Her daughter, Sally Hibbin, is a noted independent film pro­ducer. Nina Hibbin died on May 28th 2004 aged 81
Main source: Guardian June 5th 2004 – below Nina Hibbin with her daughter Sally, then aged aged 5 years

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