This is the third film by Frantisek Vlácil I have seen, and it is just as good as the others (also available on Second Run). But while 'Marketa Lazarova' and 'Valley of the Bees' were set in the middle ages, 'Adelheid' (1970) takes place just after the Second World War. And it is in color.
As in his earlier movies, 'Adelheid' begins with medieval style choirs in the background, but this time there is also classical music. The plot: a lieutenant returns from the war to live stationed in a Czech village. Everything seems to be more or less chaotic. He is given a big house which was used by a prominent nazist named Heinemann, now in jail waiting to be hanged. There he meets Adelheid, Heinemanns daughter, now relegated to a live in a work camp and to help with cleaning, scrubbing the floors and chopping wood. Fascinated by and attracted to the enigmatic, german-speaking Adelheid, the lieutenant lets her stay in the house as a maid. But who is she, what does whe want? And what does the lieutenant want?
The film is shot mostly inside the big, shadowy and sometimes spooky house, and with many close-ups of faces and eyes. Adelheid is certainly not a funny or happy movie, but rather low-key in mood and style with flashes of intensity. While the plot involves WW2 and nazism, this is only the background and I didn't find the film to be a comment on this: instead the characters and their relations are in focus.
The picture is not perfect, with somewhat washed out colors and contrast. But I didn't mind this at all, it is certainly good enough for a 40 year old film. I watched it on a projector without problems. Recommended.