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Take a look at Akira Kurosawa’s work, especially Ran, Throne of Blood and Dreams. His use of image in storytelling is remarkable and he is arguably one of the finest directors in the history of cinema.
I would also look at any of the work of Ingmar Bergman, whose storytelling evolves through character and the interaction of characters with the bleak Scandinavian landscapes they live in.
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen is a film rich in fantasy and fantastic imagery used in storytelling, too.