Salazar’s fascist Portugal in 1938 is part of the menacing cloud that hangs over Europe and Dr. Pereira is an aging, overweight, lonely, mostly retired journalist who doesn’t want to think about it. He escapes facing the ominous times by translating nineteenth-century French stories for the weekly Culture Page he edits for a Lisbon newspaper. He dwells on the past and over-indulges in heavily-sugared glasses of lemonade and omelettes aux fines herbes. “Are you living in another world, and you working for a newspaper?" his exasperated friend Father Antonio asks him. "Look here Pereira, for goodness sake go and find out what’s happening around you."