‘Trees Of Peace’ Ending Explained: Do the women survive their ordeal?

Trees Of Peace Plot Synopsis

Trees of Peace takes place during the Rwandan genocide of 1994 when thousands of men, women, and children of the Tutsi community were murdered by armed men from the Hutu community.

The film focuses on four women who are forced to do what they can to survive when Hutu militia intrude upon their town. The characters aren’t based on real-life people but the story told here is reflective of the harrowing ordeal many women went through when no other country intervened to save them from their plight.

The women at the core of this tale are Annick, a Hutu moderate, Mutesi, a Tutsi woman, Jeanette, a Christian nun, and Peyton, an American girl who visited Rwanda as part of the Peace Project.

Annick provides the hiding place for the women to reside in; a basement at the bottom of her home. She is on the list of people due to be exterminated in Rwanda, as is her husband Francois, who is absent for much of the film.

As the women shelter in the small confines of the basement, they realise that all of their lives are in danger. On a daily basis, they hear the sound of people being murdered by the armed militia outside, and they know that they could be next in line to be killed if their location is discovered.

Do they survive their harrowing ordeal? Or do they fall prey to the armed men who are roaming the streets outside?

Let’s take a closer look.


Do the four women bond?

The four women do bond but it takes a little while for them to do so.

As Mutesi is a Tutsi, she is initially fearful of Annick because of her Hutu heritage. She is also hostile to the other women with whom she is sharing a confined space. But when she starts to realise their lives have been as painful as her own, she gradually starts to become more trusting of the group.

There are still the occasional tensions between all of the women because of the differences in their cultures and belief systems but as they start to understand the difficulties they have all individually gone through, they gradually start to form an attachment with one another.


How do the women survive in the basement?

Survival isn’t easy because food supplies are sparse and there is very little room to move. However, they are able to breathe due to a small opening in the wall and the women are able to pull a slab from the ground to create a makeshift toilet.

To pass the time, they talk to one another about their troubles, play games, and learn how to read thanks to Peyton’s help. As a consequence, they are able to stay alert and focused, despite the troubles that are happening outside of Annick’s home.

They are also able to escape starvation due to a small chocolate supply that Peyton had been withholding and with the aid of Francois, who occasionally makes an appearance with food and drink supplies to keep them going.


How many days are the women in the basement?

The women are in the basement for 81 days in total. It’s a miracle that they are able to live in there for so long as the conditions are hardly suitable for habitation. During their time in the basement, the women have to deal with cramped conditions and a lack of hygiene, as well as the occasional in-fighting between members of the group.

However, they still manage to pull together, despite their hardships, as they realise being inside the basement is preferable to being outside where innocent people are being murdered.


Do all the women survive the ordeal?

Never underestimate the resilience of the human spirit! While there are times when the women suspect they won’t survive, partly because of their deteriorating health and partly because of the threat outside, they do make it to the end of the film.

Annick realises that she has to survive for the sake of her unborn child and the other women do their best not to lose hope.

On their last day in the basement, the women are finally able to open the hatch in the basement with a fruit cutter. As they emerge, their elation at being free is dampened when they hear footsteps in the house. Once again, they fear for their lives but thankfully, it is Francois and members of a rebel group and not members of the armed militia that they hear.

The men have come to take the women to a safe place so it can be assumed that the lives of the women have now been saved. But while they have been placed into a more fortunate position, there is still the reminder that many other people have not been so lucky.

As the film ends, we are told over one million people died during the genocide. This is clearly heartbreaking but we are also given hope for the people of Rwanda. In the years since the events of this terrible tragedy, women survivors spearheaded a political movement of healing and forgiveness. Because of their efforts, Rwanda now has the highest percentage of women appointed to government. As such, it is hoped that the terrible events that happened in 1994 will never be repeated.

 

Read More: Trees Of Peace Movie Review


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